U.K. gets its first 4G network

The mobile network Everything Everywhere, now known as EE, unveils the country's first 4G network. It'll start out in 16 cities, with seven compatible devices.

Nokia's Lumia 920 is set for a November launch in Europe. Sarah Tew/CNET

U.K. network operator Everything Everywhere, which runs the Orange and T-Mobile brands in the UK, has announced the first commercial 4G LTE network across the country.

The company, which will now be known as EE, will launch the service in 16 U.K. cities -- including London, Manchester, and Glasgow -- by the end of the year and will push for 98 percent U.K. coverage by 2014.

While Orange and T-Mobile will remain as two separate operating companies, EE will be reserved for 4G brands and connectivity.

Along with the announcement, the mobile phone giant -- with more than 27 million customers -- will also launch the Nokia Lumia 920 exclusively on the network. Other 4G compatible devices, such as the Samsung Galaxy S3, HTC's One XL, and Huawei's Ascend P1, will be available on EE.

Seven devices will be compatible with the new network, the firm said.

After spending 1.5 billion pounds ($2.4 billion) on infrastructure, EE will also provide a fiber broadband service to homes and businesses.

Today is the first day that Ofcom, the U.K.'s communications regulator, said the mobile network giant could offer the next-generation 4G service .

The company won the right from Ofcom to launch its 4G network in August, but was faced with heavy criticism from rivals who are concerned that EE will gain an unfair advantage by launching its 4G LTE network ahead of others.

The Lumia 920 will be available in the U.K. in November .

The U.K. has already had a brush with 4G thanks to the launch of Apple's 4G-enabled iPad 3, even though this would not connect to even trial-run 4G networks in the U.K.

Whether or not Apple's next-generation iPhone, set for its public debut tomorrow, will connect to the EE network remains to be seen.

EE hinted in an Apple-esque style that, "One more thing, we will be announcing more devices shortly," suggesting the iPhone 5 may debut on EE's 4G network when it launches later this month.

 

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