O2 launches 4G network in the UK

Congratulations Bradford. You are one of only three cities to be getting O2's 4G service when it launches at the end of this month.

When the big switch on happens on 29 August, superfast mobile data will also be offered in London and Leeds, as long as you have a compatible phone or you are willing to sign up for a deal with O2 for some new hardware. But not the iPhone 5 sadly, which isn't compatible with O2's 4G network. Perhaps that's why EE is giving Apple's phone some heavy advertising right now.

Price seems to be the selling point for O2's network. Well, let's face it, it's certainly not going to be coverage. £26 is the entry level price of a 4G deal, although O2 hasn't actually offered up any details of just what you get for that money. With the shelf date just weeks away, that should change soon enough. It has mentioned free music will be involved, but we're most interested in the allowances, to be honest.

Not a resident of Bradford, Leeds or London? All is not lost. O2 claims it already has plans to extend 4G coverage to Birmingham, Newcastle, Glasgow, Liverpool, Nottingham, Leicester, Coventry, Sheffield, Manchester and Edinburgh by the end of the year.

That is still some way behind EE, which now covers 95 towns and cities. Indeed. EE has hit back at O2, flagging up the benefits of its own deals and network. EE points out that it has SIM-only deals from £21, smartphone deals from £26 plus shared plans from £12 monthly. Which makes the detail of the O2 plans all the more important.

It also adds that it will extend coverage further, covering up to 98 per cent of the population by 2014 and no doubt, increasing the coverage of 'double-speed' 4G, which is available via EE in 15 cities.

In short, EE isn't really worried by O2. Vodafone should be along soon with its own 4G plans though. We've got everything crossed that it significantly undercuts EE and starts some kind of price war. But we're saying that in hope rather than expectation. 4G is likely to stay a premium product for some time yet.

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