EE, O2 and Vodafone prepare for next wave of 4G rollout

4G road sign

The UK's 4G rollout is continuing apace with EE, O2 and Vodafone switching on their superfast networks in a slew of new towns and cities this week.

EE has launched its 4G network in a further 12 towns and cities, as it pushes ahead to achieve its goal of achieving 98 per cent coverage of the UK by the end of 2014.

The latest beneficiaries of its 4G deployment plans include Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Beaconsfield, Blackburn, Burton upon Trent, Coalville, Chester-le-Street, Fleet, Gerrards Cross, Halifax, Hinckley, Houghton-le-Spring and Reigate.

According to EE, its network is now live in 117 towns and covers more than 60 per cent of the UK.

The firm's 4G network has been up and running for a year now, after the firm was granted a near 12 month head start on its rivals by mobile regulator Ofcom.

The organisation gave the firm permission in August 2012 to reuse its 1800 MHz spectrum band to deliver 4G services to its customers, while its competitors had to await the outcome of the Ofcom spectrum auction in February 2013 before they could follow suit.

Rival operator O2 launched its 4G network on the same day as Vodafone last month, with the former setting itself a target of having 13 cities hooked up by the end of 2013.

As such, the company has announced its network will go live tomorrow in Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield.

Meanwhile, Vodafone's network will be switched on in the same handful of cities the following day.

O2 claims this means 9.5 million people will now be able to take advantage of its next-generation mobile network.

Ronan Dunne, CEO of O2, said 4G was well on its way to becoming the "oxygen of modern life", as its network rollout continues to progress.

"It is our intention to use 4G to inspire the nation through the possibilities of technology, encouraging people to live more, do more and be more with O2.

"The full potential of 4G is as yet unexplored, but what we can be sure of is that it will allow for a whole new world of opportunity that people are now ready for," he added.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.