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O2 and Vodafone 4G networks go online today

O2 and Vodafone have both launched their 4G networks in the UK today, but coverage is very limited compared with EE's dominant 4G network.
August 29, 2013
4g mast
Image Credit: itpro

It’s been a long and drawn out wait, but the United Kingdom now finally has a few carriers to choose from when it comes to picking a 4G network, as Vodafone and O2 have both launched their services today.

Since last October, EE had been the only network to offer 4G network speeds to UK consumers. Sadly though, the launch of Vodafone and O2 services won’t necessarily mean that your area has more choice just yet, as the rollout is going to be gradual.

So far, Vodafone’s 4G service is limited solely to London, whilst O2’s network is online in London, Leeds, and Bradford. But these are both awful in comparison with EE’s much larger coverage across the UK.

If you are lucky enough to live in a newly covered area, both Vodafone and O2 have a range of contracts to suit your data needs, but there’s obviously a premium to be paid over a standard 3G tariff. Both of the carrier’s plans start at £26 a month, which includes unlimited texts and calls. However, Vodafone’s cheapest offer grants customers 2GB worth of data, whilst 02 customers will be limited to just 1GB.

Vodafone also offers two slightly more expensive tariffs, offering 4GB worth of data for £31 each month, or a £36 a month contract if you’ll require 8GB. To sweeten the deal, Vodafone is also offering 750MB of free WiFi and access to Spotify Premium and Sky Sports Mobile content free of charge. O2’s other contacts costs exactly the same, and offer 5GB and 8GB worth of data respectively, but the company does not appear to be offering as many perks.

Either way, these offers are better than the cheapest tariff available from EE, which currently limits 4G customers to just 500MB of data each month. Three is also planning to launch its own 4G network just before the end of the year, which could help drive down prices. If you’re currently not covered by more than one of these 4G networks, it’s unfortunately going to take quite a bit more time until the UK has a truly competitive 4G market.