Vodafone will launch 4G mobile services in London on August 29.
After London the red network will bring 4G to a further 12 cities, Birmingham, Bradford, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield. This closely mirrors the O2’s 4G rollout plans, revealed last week.
Vodafone hasn’t revealed what speeds users can expect to get and is only saying that 4G will be up to six times faster than its current 3G network.
If superfast mobile speeds weren’t enough, Vodafone has also announced that its done deals with Sky Sports and Spotify, giving you free access to Sky Sports 1 and 2 and Spotify Premium for either six months or a year depending on the contract you sign up for.
Guy Laurence, CEO, Vodafone UK said: “With 4G, speed is just the start: it’s what you do with it that really matters. We are taking 4G into a new league by offering sport; and changing the tune with all the music you could want. 4G is finally worth getting and there’s plenty to look forward to…”
Like O2 and EE, Vodafone is committed to providing 2G, 3G and 4G to 98 per cent of the UK’s population and aims to do this ‘in a few years’. While Vodafone’s not talking dates, we know from the details of the Mobile Infrastructure Plan that the government wants all networks to have completed this rollout by 2015.
Given that Vodafone is setting up a single shared network with O2, we can expect the rollout progress of the two networks to be matched.
Vodafone spent £791m in the recent auction of radio frequency spectrum for 4G, picking up slices of both the low 800MHz frequency, crucial for good indoor coverage, and the higher 2.6GHz frequency.
The 800MHz band is better for delivering signal across long distances making it suitable for rural areas whereas the shorter range but higher frequency 2.6GHz band means that those living in dense urban areas should benefit from faster download and upload speeds.
Vodafone has posted a list of phones, including the HTC One, Nokia Lumia 925 and the Samsung Galaxy S4 that are ‘4G Ready’ and will work on its network. It hasn’t yet mentioned anything about mobile broadband plans or how those who want to work on the go can benefit. In a pinch, you could always use any of the above phones and make use of the data tethering option to turn it into a hotspot.
The 800MHz band also has some controversy surrounding it. The launch of 4G services on the 800MHz frequency was once thought to have posed a huge problem for Freeview, but tests have shown that this is not the case. At800.tv, the moble network-funded team charged with making sure people don’t lose their TV signal, are cracking on with their work, making sure people keep calm and carry on watching.