EE rolls out LTE in UK

The UK’s set to get its first 4G LTE services by the end of the year, with Everything Everywhere launching in 16 cities.

The company’s rebranding itself simply EE – which has to be an improvement – and says it aims to cover 98 percent of the UK population by the end of 2014.

It’s currently testing services in London, Birmingham, Cardiff and Bristol, with Belfast, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Newcastle, Sheffield and Southampton set to follow.

“Our plans to revolutionise the UK communications market with a faster network and an exciting new brand for the digital age are built on solid investment and a simple belief that customers deserve better,” says Olaf Swantee, CEO of EE.

“We look forward to connecting the country with superfast mobile speeds in the coming weeks, months and years.”

The company’s announced the first handsets for the service, which include the Samsung Galaxy SIII LTE; the new Nokia Lumia 920 and 820; the HTC One XL; and the Huawei Ascend P1 LTE, E589 Mobile WiFi and  E392 Mobile Broadband stick. The iPhone’s expected to join the list too.

The service is made possible by a controversial ruling from industry regulator Ofcom last month, allowing EE to launch services ahead of the competition, using existing bandwidth.

“EE will, to all intents and purposes, be a new network but crucially, one which has excellent coverage to compete with the existing players. This is what has made it difficult for new operators like 3 in the past. Most importantly, when EE launches later this year it will have at least five devices that work on the 4G network including the best-selling Samsung Galaxy 3,” says analyst Mark Newman of Informa Telecoms & Media.

“EE will have to be careful about over-promising on 4G capabilities particularly given that the network will only cover 30 percent of the population by the end of this year. It will need to strike a balance between extolling the virtues of 4G in terms of speed and latency while, at the same time, continuing to invest in, and market its 3G network capability.”