EE, the joint venture of Orange and T-Mobile, will start offering the UK's first 4G service on October 30. This will enable users to access speeds up to five times faster than 3G on their smartphones and tablets.
The company was able to get into the 4G market before its rivals after controversially securing approval from Ofcom to repurpose its 1800Mhz spectrum to deliver the service to consumers.
EE is already offering a range of 4G-enabled devices, including Apple's iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S3.
But Vodafone will have to wait until next spring to launch its own 4G network, as it is participating in an Ofcom-administered auction of spectrum - previously used for analogue television - that is to be used for 4G.
Wary of EE's almost six-month headstart in the market, Vodafone has today announced its "4G Phone Promise", offering an incentive for its customers to wait until next spring to get 4G.
Vodafone pay-monthly customers who have been with the company for at least three months can bring eligible phones into a Vodafone store and if they are still in contract, the company will knock 70% off their remaining contract charges, give them a 4G device and set them up on a 4G price plan for when the service launches.
Eligible handsets include the iPhone 5, the Samsung Galaxy S3, and Galaxy Note 2 phones that have been purchased on or after today (October 26). The 3G phones must be in good condition when they are exchanged, or Vodafone will "add on something for the damage".
The 4G Phone Promise is available until December 31, 2013 for pay-monthly and small business customers.
Vodafone said that it spends more than £1.8 million every day on upgrading its network, and has targeted 98% coverage of 4G by 2015.
EE's 4G network will be available initially in ten cities, but cover 16 cities - a third of the population - by the end of the year. EE's aim is to reach 98% coverage of the UK population by the end of 2014 in one of the fastest-ever network rollout programmes.
Ahead of the launch next week, the company has confirmed that it will charge £36 per month for the 4G "light data usage entry plan", offering 500MB of data allowance every month on a 24-month plan.
The plan with 1GB of monthly data will cost £41 per month; the 3GB plan will cost £46 per month; the 5G tariff will be priced at £51 per month; and the range will extend up to 8GB for the heavy data user, which will cost £56 per month. All of these are also 24-month plans.