As EE switches on 4G in the UK, it has confirmed five flagship handsets to launch supporting new superfast internet.
4G versions of the Samsung Galaxy S III and Huawei Ascend P1 will launch soon, while HTC's LTE One XL is also on the cards. The recently unveiled Nokia Lumia 820 and Lumia 920 will launch with 4G too, with the latter an exclusive to EE as rumoured.
The typical speeds reached by these 4G phones will be around 10Mbit/s, five times faster than 3G speeds, said David Salem, director of network strategy at EE. Maximum speeds are more like 60Mbit/s and at the launch conference, devices were reaching 30Mbit/s, however, the network has been careful not to over promise speeds.
The network switches on 4G today (11 September) for live testing in London, Birmingham, Bristol and Cardiff, with 12 more UK cities added by Christmas. By the end of the year, London will be fully covered by 4G - though EE has shied away from actual percentages.
'4G uptake will happen much quicker than 3G. The UK has the highest rate of smartphone penetration in Europe, and there's demand for the devices now,' said Salem.
To feel the benefit of 4G, he added, consumers will need handsets that pack a dual-core or quad-core processor capable of handling the high data loads of 4G transmission.
After the testing, tariff plans on the new network will be announced 'in the coming weeks'. Data limits are likely to be much higher than the current 1GB average of tariff plans on Orange and T-Mobile, the two networks under the EE umbrella.
EE will also launching fibre broadband to the home at much faster speeds, with a Huawei-made Wi-Fi unit debuting with the 4G handsets announced.