The UK’s first-ever 4G mobile phone network went live today, offering smartphone owners mobile internet speeds up to five times faster than 3G.
EE’s service is available in 12 cities today - London, Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester - and will go live in Belfast, Derby, Hull, Newcastle, Nottingham and Southampton before the end of the year.
The company, which was formerly known as Everything Everywhere and functions as an umbrella brand for merged carriers Orange and T-Mobile, intends to offer coverage to 98 per cent of the UK in 2014.
EE has pledged to deliver customers speeds of between 8Mbps and 12Mbps, which is broadly in line with the average home broadband connection and clears the way for a more multi-faceted mobile internet experience.
Services such as high-definition video and online gaming are set to gain the most from 4G.
Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com, said: "The 4G rollout is a game changer for the mobile market.
“But the launch of the service on a single network, EE, has already stirred up problems for mobile users when it comes to choosing whether or not to make the leap to super-fast mobile internet or stay put with their current providers.”
He added: "Our research shows that as many as 45 per cent of Brits think they don't need 4G and 29 per cent don't even know what it is.
“If the mobile giants want to win customers, they need to make things as jargon-free and transparent to the average consumer as possible – or risk causing even more confusion."