O2 4G network to launch on 29 August

02 will switch on its superfast 4G network in three cities by the end of the month, reaching a potential five million customers.

O2 4G network to launch on 29 August

The move means O2 will be the first operator to rival EE’s 4G service, which was the first to launch last October.

London, Leeds and Bradford will be the first cities to get O2 4G, with an additional ten cities to follow by the end of the year.

The operator won’t detail pricing yet but said the most basic tariff would start at £26 per month. Like rival EE, it seems that O2 will offer a range of tariffs with different data caps. EE’s starter tariff also costs £26 and offers 500MB of data.

O2 has said it plans to offer freebies to sweeten 4G deals, offering a year’s worth of free music to those willing to make the upgrade. It’ll also offer tailored 4G packages to businesses, including tariffs for tablets.

The operator has promised speeds up to five times’ faster than current 3G services. In its FAQ, it has acknowledged that consumers might chew through their current data caps on superfast speeds, but promised its tariffs “will allow you to get the most out of 4G”.

Upgrading to 4G

Upgrading to 4G on O2 will require a 4G compatible device – which on O2’s 800MHz band doesn’t include the iPhone 5.

O2 customers who want 4G and already have a compatible phone will have to upgrade their SIMs and contracts when the service launches. Others will have to wait until they can upgrade to a new phone or, alternatively, sign up for a new contract. Those who own an iPhone 5 are can take advantage of a special discount to upgrade to a phone compatible with O2’s 4G networks.

Vodafone is also expected to announce its 4G network soon, while Three has said it won’t launch before the end of the year.

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