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Everything Everywhere launches UK's first 4G network

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EE (Everything Everywhere) logo
Everything Everywhere has today (September 11) switched on the UK's first 4G network as part of its new brand offering the next-generation mobile service.

Olaf Swantee, the chief executive of the joint venture of T-Mobile and Orange in the UK, announced the new brand, just called EE, at a press event in London today.

The company will relaunch its entire network and consumer service as EE, but Orange and T-Mobile will remain in operation as "standalone brands".

Essentially, this means that anyone wanting just 2G and 3G services will go with Orange and T-Mobile, but customers wanting 4G will sign up with EE.

The launch follows Ofcom's controversial recent approval of Everything Everywhere's plan to offer 4G LTE services in the UK by reusing its existing 1800Mhz spectrum, entering the 4G market around a year ahead of its rivals.

Despite the threat of a legal challenge from O2, EE intends to forge ahead by offering 4G services for consumers and businesses "in the coming weeks".

It will be the first brand in the country to offer mobile 4G - a new service that offers mobile internet speeds typically five times faster than 3G speeds today.

This allows people to more easily download HD movies, stream live television, play games or make high quality video calls on their mobile device.

Nokia Lumia 920 smartphone
EE will also compete with the likes of Virgin Media and BT by offering a fixed-line fibre broadband service to homes and businesses with internet speeds said to be "ten times faster than today's average broadband speeds".

"Today we launch a new company, a new network and a new brand for Britain," said EE chief executive Swantee.

"Our plans to revolutionise the UK communications market with a faster network and an exciting new brand for the digital age are built on solid investment and a simple belief that customers deserve better.

"We look forward to connecting the country with superfast mobile speeds in the coming weeks, months and years.

"And it starts today, with the announcement of our new business, our new brand and a new digital infrastructure that our company, our customers and the country can be proud of."

EE has signed up a number of dedicated smartphones and devices for its new 4G mobile service, and the first of these should be available "in the coming weeks".

This includes the 4G version of the hugely popular Samsung Galaxy S3, along with Nokia's recently-announced Lumia 820 and 920 smartphones.

Users will also be able to buy the HTC One XL and Huawei Ascend P1 LTE for use on EE, along with the Huawei E589 Mobile WiFi device and the Huawei E392 Mobile Broadband stick.

Swantee said that EE would be adding more 4G handsets soon, potentially hinting at Apple's new iPhone, which is expected to come in a 4G version when it launches tomorrow (September 12).

Orange T-Mobile logo


More than 700 EE-branded stores are to open, all formerly Orange and T-Mobile shops, which will sell the 4G deices and serve customers of all three brands.

Four cities - London, Birmingham, Cardiff, and Bristol - have been switched on to EE's 4G today as part of a testing phase ahead of the consumer launch.

By Christmas, EE intends to expand the 4G network to a total of 16 cities, including London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Derby, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Southampton.

At this stage, the network will cover around 20 million people, a third of the population. Customers in these urban areas will be able to access superfast mobile broadband speeds of up to 100Mbps on their 4G-enabled smartphones.

A nationwide 4G roll-out will accelerate through 2013, and it is expected that 98% of the UK population will be covered be 2014.

Following a project to merge the Orange and T-Mobile networks earlier in the year, from today customers of both brands will start moving over to the overall EE network. All 27m users are expected to move by the end of the year.

This means that Orange and T-Mobile customers will get access to faster 3G service, with speeds of up to 21Mbps, according to EE.

EE said that its superfast fibre fixed-line broadband service will launch in the coming weeks, and it will offer standard broadband via ADSL in non-fibre areas.

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