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O2 to launch 4G services in August

At present, you only have one choice if you want to experience 4G speeds on your mobile – Everything Everywhere.  While many shops around the country will happily sell you a 4G enabled device on a 4G plan, coverage is still fairly limited and only covers the largest towns and cities in the country.

It looks like O2, the UK arm of Telefonica Europe, is going to be the second mobile network to throw their hat into the ring, launching their 4G service on the 29th August. Coverage will initially be limited to London and Leeds-Bradford, however O2 plans to roll-out coverage to 10 cities by the end of the year.

Many existing O2 customers may be disappointed to hear that many 4G enabled devices – such as the iPhone 5 – won’t be able to enjoy 4G speeds on their network, as they have only bought licenses to use the part of the 800 MHz radio spectrum.  Other mobile service providers, Everything Everywhere included, also own part of the 2600 MHz band which is compatible with such phones.

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There are advantages and disadvantages of both bands  The 800 MHz band is better for transmitting data over long distances and within buildings, however the 2600 MHz band offers better speeds and is better suited to built-up areas.  Most other operators have purchased part of both bands, allowing their customers the best of both worlds.

Vodafone and Hutchinson 3G (Three) have also announced plans to launch their 4G services by the end of the year, but haven’t yet confirmed specific dates.  While EE and O2 are charging their users quite a premium for 4G services, starting at £21 and £26 per month respectively, Three have promised to upgrade existing customers without increasing the price.

KitGuru says: Have you bitten the 4G bullet yet?  Let us know in the comments below.

Thanks BBC News; Image source: O2

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