Vodafone and O2 launch 4G services in the UK

Vodafone and O2 launch 4G services in the UK

Vodafone and O2 have simultaneously launched 4G services in three UK cities.

Vodafone’s services are initially restricted to London, while O2 is rolling out the service across London, Leeds and Bradford.

As EE’s existing LTE network continues to expand across the country, analysts at Analysys Mason expect the UK to be the third-largest 4G market in Europe by the end of 2014.

“The country’s thirst for high-end mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets will be a major driver for 4G connectivity,” said Ronan de Renesse, principal analyst at Analysys Mason.

“We suspect that... the quality of the network service and coverage will play a more significant role in operators’ marketing strategies and positioning, and customers buying decisions,” he added.

There remains apprehension from market watchers that the UK is falling behind other markets – such as the US – in terms of commercial LTE deployments. There are also concerns that the UK’s demand for quality and capacity will not be maintained.

“As data demand grows year-on-year, operators risk significant damage to their reputation if new 4G services cannot maintain quality levels along with the improvement in speeds,” said Lyn Carter, president of Tektronix Communications.

“No operator makes the transition to 4G overnight, for regulatory, business and technical reasons. With multiple network topologies, subscribers still expect the same level of experience for mobile as they do for fixed. The needs and expectations of all users, whether on legacy standards or 4G, still need to be maintained.”

Both O2 and Vodafone expect to be offering 4G services in 13 cities by the year end.

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