Vodafone announces 4G launch date

Vodafone becomes the third mobile operator to confirm the launch of its 4G network, which will go live on the same day as O2

Vodafone has announced its 4G network will launch at the end of August, making it the third mobile network operator to offer the faster mobile connectivity.

Vodafone's 4G network will go live on 29 August in London, followed by a further 12 cities – Birmingham, Bradford, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield – by the end of 2013.  

Vodafone has invested £900m into its network this year in preparation for the new mobile data speeds, after spending £802m on new spectrum from Ofcom’s auction in February 2013. The company won its bids for 2 x 10 MHz of 800 MHz, 2 x 20 MHz of 2.6 GHz and 1 x 25 MHz of 2.6 GHz (unpaired), but also spent the most on its allocation.

It did not win the portion of spectrum with the coverage obligation of bringing 4G indoor coverage to 98% of the population by 2017 – this was won by O2 – but like its rival, it has promised to reach this same target by 2015.

4G contract choices

Vodafone customers on Red contracts who already have a 4G device will be able to get double their current data limit and access to the faster speeds for an extra £5 per month without having to sign up to a new contract.

A range of 12-month, 24-month and SIM-only 4G plans with unlimited calls and texts will also be made available at launch, including Vodafone’s "data test drive" that allows customers to use as much data as they like for three months to gauge their average use.

SIM-only plans will begin at £26 per month, 24-month contracts with a device will start at £36 per month, and 12-month contracts with a device will start at £52 per month.

A range of tablet and mobile Wi-Fi deals will also be made available.

4G add-ons 

Vodafone hopes its additional services will win new customers over, offering a choice between Spotify Premium or Sky Sports Mobile TV as part of their package.

“With 4G, speed is just the start – it’s what you do with it that really matters,” said Guy Laurence, CEO of Vodafone UK. 

“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,” he added.  

4G competition

O2's 4G services are also scheduled to launch on 29 August, with London, Leeds and Bradford all going live on day one. The company promised a further 10 cities would be hooked up to the network by the end of 2013.

EE is currently the only mobile operator offering 4G after Ofcom allowed it to repurpose spectrum in September 2012.

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