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Vodafone and O2 rolling out 4G networks

Mobile companies o2 and Vodafone are rolling out their first 4G data services in three cities in the United Kingdom.

The networks will be forced to compete against EE who have been the only company to offer super speed mobile data speeds in the UK since 2012.

Vodafone are limiting their 4G data initially to parts of London and o2 will launch in London, Leeds and Bradford. 4G can provide data at speeds up to 10x compared to standard 3G networks. Ideal for watching high definition video on the move.

The United Kingdom are lagging behind in many regards – The US, Japan, Australia and South Korea have widely adopted 4G. The UK will have to wait until the end of 2015 for comprehensive coverage.

EE are leading the way in the UK right now, with 105 towns and cities covered with 4G support. When EE launched their 4G services, competitors complained that it gave the company an unfair advantage.

The BBC spoke to Steven Hartley, principal analyst at telecoms consultancy Ovum and accused o2 and Vodafone of taking a ‘very conservative approach’ to 4G.

He said “The UK’s mobile networks are hedging their bets with 4G. They are trying the same strategy they used when they rolled out 3G, which is to offer 4G as a premium service to consumers, in an effort to move them onto expensive phone tariffs.”

He also added that EE could have been more aggressive commercially in their deployment of 4G.

The slow movement of 4G in the UK could be related to customer feedback. Ofcom published a report earlier this month and they found that almost 25 percent of smartphone users said they did not see the benefit of moving to a superfast network.

Vodafone and o2 will be offering added extras to take advantage of the performance improvements, including football highlights and streaming music. They hope they can lure EE customers to their plans, once their services hit more major cities. No details yet

Kitguru says: Are you interested in 4G or do you already connect to a super fast network?

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