U.K. 4G Choice Ramps Up, As Vodafone Follows O2 With August 29 4G/LTE Launch
After U.K. carrier O2′s announcement last week that it plans to launch a 4G/LTE network on August 29, Vodafone has confirmed it plans to launch its own LTE network on the same day — albeit, the network will only go live in London initially, with plans to switch on 12 more cities by the end of the year. O2′s launch will hit London, Leeds and Bradford on day one, with 10 more cities by year’s end.
Both carriers are playing catch up with EE which launched its LTE network on October 30 last year, by using existing 3G spectrum, refarmed for 4G services, rather than waiting to acquire new spectrum in the auctions earlier this year. EE’s network is also the only one of the three 4G networks that supports the iPhone 5′s 4G — owing to compatibility with spectrum bands.
The current international version of the iPhone includes support for 1,800MHz, the frequency EE is using for 4G (and which Three also intends to use for 4G, when it launches LTE — likely later this year), but does not support O2′s 800MHZ band or Vodafone’s 2.6GHz band. It is likely, however, that a new flagship iPhone from Apple would resolve these banding issues — either by supporting multiple spectrum frequencies, or by Apple offering multiple versions of the device for different carriers’ network.
Vodafone is planning to bundle some premium app subscriptions with its 4G offer, in a bid to lure in customers — including the likes of Spotify and Sky Sports Mobile TV. It’s encouraging customers to sign up to ’4G-Ready’ tariffs from August 12 to try to