£36 is the cheapest monthly price at launch
We knew the network was launching on 30 October, but we didn't know just how much we would have to pay for the privilege of superfast browsing and downloading in the UK. We do now, although you'll probably need to be in right location to take advantage.
4G will initially be available in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield and Glasgow. By the end of the year, that list should also include Southampton, Belfast, Derby, Hull, Nottingham and Newcastle. If your hometown or city isn't mentioned, might be best to hold off until 2013, when 70 per cent of the UK will be covered. Coverage will be more or less universal by the end of 2014.
If you are keen to sign up now, you'll need to sign up for a two-year deal, which includes unlimited calls and SMS. Data certainly isn't unlimited. In fact, you pay for the data you expect to use. Which means 500MB costs £36 monthly, 1GB is £41, 3GB is £46, 5GB is £51 and finally 8GB of data will set you back £56 each month.
If you go over your limit, you'll be charged. 50MB is priced at £3, 500MB costs £6, 2GB of added data is £15 and 4GB will cost you £20. EE has confirmed that data controls will alert customers when they are approaching the data allowance limit, and then when a limit is reached. So less worry about being hit with a secondary bill.
As for the phones, well the free one on most deals is the recently-launched Huawei Ascend P1 LTE. Other phones come at a premium. Those prices vary dependent on hardware and the contract you sign, ranging between £19.99 upfront to £379.99 if you want the iPhone 5 on the cheapest contract. See EE for the full breakdown of deals.
Some nice add-ons too, including EE Film, which offers 2-for-1 cinema ticketas on a Wednesday (aka Orange Wednesday), along with trailers, downloads and movie news. But that's not all. EE customers will be able to watch a film of their choice on their mobile, on their PC or even on their TV (via their laptop). Pause & Play also allows customers to view the film on one device, such as their smartphone, pause it, then pick it up on another device, such as their laptop. If you want to watch more, there's a charge for that.
All customers will also be able to tether or use VoIP services as part of their plan. BT Wi-fi is also included in all plans at no extra cost and for £5 more a month, you will be able to take your unlimited voice and text allowance abroad in Europe and 'selected' countries in the rest of the world.
Of course, you can opt for the SIM-only package if you have hardware, but that's not available until November. If you want to go down that route, prices are 500MB (£21), 1GB (£26), 3GB (£31), 5GB (£36) and 8GB (£41). All are 12-month deals and ideal for the many owners of a SIM-free iPhone 5.
Mobile broadband contracts will also be available soon, 18-month deals for £15.99 (2GB), £20.99 (3GB) or £25.99 (5GB), along with hardware costs, which are yet to be confirmed.
That's probably not the end of the story either. Apple is said to be launching a new iPad today and with it, 4G compatibility. Expect a swift announcement from EE about that one, which is certain to be one of the jewels in its crown.