EE has confirmed a trio of 4G mobile phones: the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE, HTC One XL and Huawei Ascend P1 LTE are available to buy today.
EE also confirmed it will be selling a 4G version of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 LTE, which will be available on October 15th. These handsets join the iPhone 5, the UK’s first 4G-ready mobile phone, with the Nokia Lumia 920 and Nokia Lumia 820 expected to launch by November.
Although EE has won the licence to run the UK’s first 4G spectrum, EE hasn’t officially launched yet, so at the moment the handsets are available on Orange and T-Mobile tariffs. Customers on either of these two networks can then upgrade to an EE tariff (priced the same or more per month) when they launch ‘within the coming weeks’ without incurring a penalty, starting a new contract with EE. EE has yet to confirm prices of its 4G prices. EE’s David Salam refused to comment on whether tariffs for upgrading Orange or T-Mobile customers will be the same as those of new customers.
At an event in London we were able to go hands-on with new handsets – with the exception of the Galaxy Note 2 LTE.
Results were impressive, using the iPhone 5 apps downloaded exceptionally quickly, although there was a variation in speed, which is to be expected.
On the Samsung Galaxy S3 using the Speedchecker.net app we attained download speeds of 45.33Mbps, with the iPhone 5 we attained 40.72Mbps. We compare the two phones in greater detail in our iPhone 5 VS Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE 4G test.
Currently 4G is being trialled in London, Bristol, Cardiff and Birmingham before rolling out to 16 cities by the end of 2012. EE expects 98% of the population to be able to access 4G by 2014.
700 T-Mobile and Orange stores will be rebranded EE, which will be tied in with the rollout. We asked what will happen if a T-Mobile or Orange store are in close proximity and were told by an EE spokesperson it’s ‘not the plan to close stores.’ So it’s conceivable there will be two stores in the same place.
Today Ofcom confirmed the 4G rollout has been brought forward, which means we should see 4G from Vodafone and O2 by the middle of 2013, until then if you want 4G in the UK you need to go on EE. Find out more in our feature: What is 4G?