Everything Everywhere launches UK's first 4G network

By Sooraj Shah
11 Sep 2012 View Comments

Mobile operator Everything Everywhere has - as expected - formally launched the UK's first 4G service, and also made a bad name worse, by rebranding as simply "EE".

The operator, the merged infrastructure of T-Mobile and Orange, has also announced that it will compete in the domestic fibre broadband market. Orange is already a significant player in ADSL broadband in the UK. 

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EE will sit alongside Orange and T-Mobile as a third brand offering super-fast broadband services.  

Speaking at the launch at the Science Museum in London today, EE CEO Olaf Swantee explained how each brand will be tailored for different people.

"Orange is for people who want more from their phones, T-Mobile is for people who want straight forward value and both will be based on 3G services. EE is for customers who want super-fast access with fibre broadband at home or 4G on the go," he said.

The company's mobile 4G services, Swantee said, will be five times faster than current 3G speeds and have been switched on, as of today, after Ofcom permitted EE to repurpose its existing 1800MHz 2G spectrum for 4G use.

Initially, 4G services will be launched in London, Cardiff, Birmingham and Bristol, and by Christmas it will be available in 12 more major cities, including Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

EE expect more than 20 million people to have access to 4G by Christmas. In 2013 it wants to reach 70 per cent of the UK's population including some rural areas, and by 2014 it says it will cover 98 per cent of the population.

In addition, Swantee said that EE will be launching several phones, including those by manufacturers Samsung, Huawai and Nokia. It is rumoured to be partnering with Nokia to offer the new Lumia 920 when it becomes available in November.

Swantee joked that EE "would be announcing other devices very shortly", hinting at the rumoured launch of the Apple iPhone 5 tomorrow.

EE claim that 4G will enable consumers to download high definition videos in minutes, so that they can watch live TV on the move without any buffering and take part in video conferencing with high-quality video on the move.

"The digital backbone will become as important as roads, railways and airports. It will unleash healthcare and education opportunities and allow faster and better communications for leisure and business," said Swantee.

In a surprise move, EE also said it would offer high-speed fibre broadband to 11 million people in offices and homes by the end of the year and added that this would make it the first company to offer both 4G and fibre broadband in the UK.

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