updated 05:12 am EST, Thu December 13, 2012
Carrier aims to cover 98-percent of population with 4G access
The first 4G-based carrier in the United Kingdom has announced its network expansion plans for early 2013. An extra 17 towns will receive the high-speed mobile access from Everything Everywhere, now EE, by March, on top of the 14 existing towns and cities that it has launched in, and the four areas set to go live before the end of this year.
The areas that will receive 4G coverage by March 2013 are Bradford, Chelmsford, Coventry, Doncaster, Dudley, Leicester, Luton, Newport, Reading, Rotherham, St. Albans, Sunderland, Sutton Coldfield, Walsall, Watford, West Bromwich, and Wolverhampton. Belfast, Hull, Maidenhead, and Slough are set to have 4G turned on before the year's end. The company's goal is to cover 98-percent of the UK population by the end of 2014.
While work is being conducted to improve EE's mobile backhaul and provide its customers with 4G access, users with non-4G smartphones will not be left out. EE's 3G network is being upgraded to DC-HSPA, which by the company's estimate will be live on 40-percent of the network, and will be accessible by EE, Orange, and T-Mobile customers with a compatible handset.
EE is currently the only provider of 4G mobile service in the UK, and will likely remain so until past the end of regulator Ofcom's 4G spectrum auction. Other networks, such as Vodafone and O2, are expected to go live with their own 4G service from May onwards.