Mobile phone companies are racing to roll out the new 4G service. This will speed up mobile internet making video more viable and there is a commitment to making the signal more usable indoors. Although it will be interesting to see how good it is in practise.
EE have rolled out their initial offering using a piece of spectrum made available in 2012 and Vodafone and O2 will begin on 29th August 2013 in London.
After that a number of large cities will get the Vodafone and O2 service by the end of 2013. In the north west that means Manchester and Liverpool. When the Preston and surrounding area will get a service hasn’t been declared but it could be a year away.
We haven’t heard how Three are going to roll out their service although they have said they will maintain their existing tariffs, unlike the other companies. However 4G might use up your allowance a lot faster if it’s allowance based.
The expectation is that coverage of most of the UK will be achieved by the end of 2015.
4G operates on 3 frequency bands. These are 800MHz, 1800MHz, 2600MHz. EE are using 1800MHz now and will also use 800MHz and 2600MHz, Vodafone will use 800MHz and 2600MHz, O2 and Three will use 800MHz.
800MHz is able to cover a wider distance and so will be better outside cities, 2600MHz will enable more users simultaneously so is more suited to cities.
I’ll buy a new phone when 4G is widely established and a lot of phones have it. That might be over 15 months away. My own experience with internet on mobile is pretty poor and not something I’d pay a lot of money for. I seem to have a habit of being in places where there is inadequate signal when I want to sit and enjoy.