4G internet now available in Britain
Fourth generation (4G) mobile service launches in the United Kingdom this morning, across a total of eleven cities.
The areas now able to host 4G are Manchester, London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Bristol, Edinburgh and Southampton. Further availability is set to come, with only the EE network currently able to provide the service.
EE coverage increasing by Christmas
Five more cities will have access to 4G by Christmas, with Derby, Hull, Newcastle, Nottingham and Belfast joining the list of fourth generation locations in the coming weeks. Despite the excitement at the service's potential and the boost it will give to mobile speeds on the go, there have been criticisms of the price.
The cheapest contract is £36 a month, with the most expensive priced at £56. This lower priced service only offers users 500MB of data a month, which is the equivalent of two hours of video streaming. Once all the data has been used, bolt on packages will have to be purchased to continue to receive 4G coverage; these range from £3 for 50MB to £20 for 4GB.
Matthew Howett, a regulation analyst at Ovum was unconvinced by the tariffs, saying: "It's fair to say that EE has attracted criticism, not for the price of the tariffs, but rather the amount of data bundled at each level."
The launch is seen as vital to EE if they are to attract customers away from other networks, with Vodafone and O2 their main competitors. A Vodafone statement strongly suggested to their customers that their 4G service would be superior when it launches next year, announcing they would have better indoor coverage.
Tom Glass, creative director at theEword remarked: "The arrival of 4G is a welcome boost, with superfast mobile internet certain to be beneficiary to many people. It may also lead to an increase in mobile shopping, as the only capability increases. However, with concerns over pricing it remains to be seen how many users will switch to the service at this time."