Gaj-it Guide To 4G: When Will You Get Super Fast 4G Mobile Broadband In The UK?

This month will finally see the UK’s first 4G network launched by Everything Everywhere, which is a new 4G brand created by the parent company of T-mobile and Orange. 4G/LTE is short for Fourth Generation/Long Term Evolution and is a replacement for the current 3G network, offering substantial increases in speed and suffers a lot less from signal degradation.

When will 4G Be Available?

Well as early as October 30, but it’s only being rolled-out by Everything Everywhere – the rest of the networks (O2 & Vodafone) will have to wait until the beginning of the year.

The CEO of EE, Olaf Swantee, issued a statement to say: “We are delighted to announce that the official launch of our new customer brand, EE, offering the UK’s first superfast mobile 4G and fibre broadband service, will take place on the 30th October 2012.”

“This is a significant milestone for the United Kingdom, and for the people and businesses of our country who will now be able to enjoy the huge advantages of superfast 4G technology for the first time. We are very proud to be pioneering, innovating and leading our industry in launching 4G for our nation through our new EE brand.”

The initial launch of EE’s 4G service will take place in ten major cities across the UK, with a further six getting coverage through November and December. By the end of 2012, EE reckons it will have a third of the UK’s population covered by its LTE service – and 98 per cent coverage by 2014.

How come we’re getting 4G before the 4G auction?

Everything’s Everywhere’s LTE is using its existing 1800MHz spectrum currently used for 3G, other operators (O2 & Vodaphone) will have to wait until after the big 4G spectrum auction which is a taking place early next year before they can roll out their 4G offerings.

Will Everything Everywhere be the only UK 4G network?

No, part of the agreement to let Everything Everywhere to get a head start is a it has to sell a bit of it’s old spectrum – so we could see Three getting in on the pre-4G auction. But eventually all networks will offer 4G.

When will all of the UK get 4G?

Yesterday UK regulator Ofcom announced that it would move forward the auction for the Digital Dividend creating by switching off analogue TV, and that clearance of TV transmitters will be brought forward by around five months.

Given the uncertainty over dates and the long lead times, O2 and Vodafone faced potential waits of 9 months to launch their own 4G networks. Add to that the fact that Apple’s new iPhone 5, only supports LTE over the 1800MHz frequency in the UK – it’s already looking like a protracted roll-out which is already beginning to confuse consumers. Not a great start.

When will there be UK 4G phones?

The new iPhone 5 is 4G compatible, but only for the 1800MHz spectrum – so if you want 4G speeds you’d need an iPhone 5 running on Everything Everywhere. There are a range of new handsets on their way from the likes of HTC, Samsung and Nokia too – so be sure to check out the phones above.

Will the 4G iPad work in the UK?

Unfortunately not, while the iPad is 4G, again, it’s on the wrong frequency as its 4G radio works on the 700MHz and 2100MHz frequency bands, not the 1800MHz band Everything Everywhere will be using.

What are the 4G download speeds?

The US has had 4G for a while and it gives us a decent indication of the speeds we will get. Verizon customers in the US are getting around 25Mbps with average speeds of around half that. That’s still about four times faster than a 3G connection, which is more than fast enough to stream high-def video on the go.

Why is it so fast?

4G’s dramatic speed boost comes courtesy of OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing), the same transmission technology used by ADSL, Wi-Fi, DVB-T, DVB-H and DAB. OFDM not only reduces latency, but minimises interference and can cram more data into the same slice of radio bandwidth.

Part of the delay in getting 4G setup in the UK is because we need to switch off the current analogue radio and TV to free up more bandwidth to make room for the new 4G network. That obviously takes a bit of time.

Confused? So are we. Basically if you have an iPad 4G – you’ll need to wait until next year. If you get a new phone this year you’ll need to make sure go with EE and if you don’t want to move network you’ll have to wait until next year and pick a handset that works on the other frequencies, which aren’t actually available as yet.


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