East Anglia: Region to miss out on first wave of 4G mobile roll-out

A NEW era for mobile phone use began today as the UK’s largest network operator unveiled plans to launch the country’s first superfast 4G products and services in time for Christmas – but East Anglia will miss out under the first wave of the roll-out.

Orange and T-Mobile owner Everything Everywhere, which also announced yesterday it is rebranding itself as EE, will make the state-of-the-art technology available to around 20 million people in 16 cities across the UK.

4G services will be five times faster than 3G and will allow uninterrupted access to the web on the move, high definition movies to be downloaded in minutes and TV to be streamed without buffering.

EE’s network will initially be available on HTC, Samsung, Nokia and Huawei devices plus one more yet to be announced, widely expected to be Apple’s iPhone 5.

Networks in London, Birmingham, Bristol and Cardiff were switched on yesterday for engineers to begin live testing and systems integration, in readiness for the customer launch.

EE also intends 4G services to go live before Christmas in 12 other cities – Belfast, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Southampton.

It says further cities, towns and rural areas, will “follow rapidly”, with a target to cover 98% of the UK population by 2014.

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The early launch of 4G services by EE using part of its existing network, ahead of an auction for dedicated airway space later this year, was approved by regulator Ofcom last month. Rival operators including Vodafone, 3 and O2 have threatened legal action.