4G goes live in 11 UK cities

The UK’s first 4G service is up and running in 11 cities today, with the launch of EE’s LTE network.

The company says it plans to expand its coverage by 2,000 square miles every month, and claims that 74 percent of businesses plan to adopt 4G within the next year.

“Today is a landmark day for our company, the UK mobile industry and, most importantly, the country’s businesses and consumers. But this is just the start as our 4G network will continue to grow stronger and wider by the day,” says Olaf Swantee, CEO at EE.

“We’re investing £1.5 billion in our network to be the first company to offer mobile 4G in the UK, alongside the biggest 3G network. Combined with our Fibre Broadband and revolutionary service model we have a pioneering and unique offer to customers across the UK – superfast speeds in the home, superfast speeds on the move and expert service on nearly every high street in Britain.”

EE says it intends to add five more cities to its network before Christmas, and to cover 98 percent fo the population by the end of 2014. This means adding coverage for two million people every month.

EE has every incentive to do this. At the moment, rather controversially, it’s the only company in the UK to offer such a service, thanks to its ownership of a wide mand of spare spectrum.

Soon, though, it will have competition, after rival operatiors are offered the chance to buy more spectrum in an auction early next year.

Even then, though, EE will be the only operator to support 4G on the iPhone, which operates in the 1800MHz band which EE holds.

The company has, though, faced some criticism over its pricing structure, while doesn’t include an unlimited data option.