New breed of superfast mobile phones will be available by Christmas

Orange and T-Mobile steal march on rivals with surprise launch of '4G' network

A "superfast" mobile phone network that allows users to watch live television seamlessly and download films in minutes will be available to 20 million people by Christmas, it was announced yesterday.

In a surprise move, Everything Everywhere, the parent company of Orange and T-Mobile, said it had switched on its fourth generation of mobile phone networks, 4G, in certain parts of the country, well head of rivals O2 and 3.

Engineers were already carrying out tests on the network yesterday, and the company said 16 cities, including London, Birmingham, Bristol and Cardiff, would be connected within months, ushering in "a new era in communications".

Everything Everywhere claims the new network, which it will operate under a new brand called EE, will be five times faster than the quickest phone network available in the UK, 3G. It will allow people on the go – and at home and work – uninterrupted fast access to the internet, allowing the downloading of high-definition movies in minutes and television to be streamed without buffering. Existing Orange and T-Mobile customers and subscribers to other networks will have to buy a new handset to use the service. The firm did not say how much those packages would cost, but announced the eight handsets available: the Samsung Galaxy SIII LTE, other smartphones by Nokia, Taiwan's HTC and China's Huawei, and "one more to come," thought to be iPhone 5 – which is expected to be launched by Apple's chief executive Tim Cook in San Francisco today.

Devices yet to be launched will allow other equipment, such as laptops, to be connected to 4G.

Its launch is likely to enrage competitors including Vodafone, 3 and O2, which threatened legal action last month over the telecoms regulator Ofcom's decision to allow Everything Everywhere to launch 4G on its existing network.

Four cities – London, Bristol, Cardiff and Birmingham – were "switched on" yesterday but testing means the public is unlikely to be able to plug into it for weeks.

EE gave no specific date but said customers in Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Southampton – a combined population of 20 million – would be able to use 4G by Christmas

The group plans to roll out the service to further cities, towns and rural areas, covering 70 per cent of the population next year, and 98 per cent of the population by 2014.

Olaf Swantee, the chief executive of EE, said the launch would make Britain, whose 4G rollout is lagging behind countries such as the US and Germany, "more modern".

The London Mayor, Boris Johnson, speaking at the launch, said: "I barely understand it, but information will spout unstoppably from these gizmos. It will bring huge advantages to anyone who is living or working in London."

Orange and T-Mobile customers will continue to use the 2G and 3G networks. As part of the shake-up, Everything Everywhere will be rebranded EE and Orange and T-Mobile shops will be rebranded EE stores.

New iPhone 5 'could add 0.5 per cent to US GDP'

The next-generation Apple iPhone 5, due for release today, could give a significant boost to the US economy, economists believe.

Sales of the new handset could add between a quarter and a half percentage point to the country's annual growth, said Michael Ferol, the chief economist at JPMorgan.

Analysts expect Apple to sell about eight million iPhone 5s this year. They reportedly have larger screens than previous iPhones, but are thinner and lighter. They could go on sale in Britain by the end of this month.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: Moodle Developer (PHP ,Linux, Apache, MySQL, Moodle)

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Moodle Developer (PHP ,Linux, Apache...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Junior .NET Web Developer - Winform / MVC

    £21000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Award-winning pharma softw...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Java Developer

    £30000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Java Developer is requ...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there