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BT 4G coming in 'weeks' for business, consumers within a year

You can now sign up to be kept in the loop for BT's first 4G service, serving business users in "weeks" and consumers by next April.

BT is launching 4G in summer, for business users. Shutterstock

Whether you're a businessman or a business, man, BT is one step closer to going 4G. You can now sign up to be kept in the loop when BT's first 4G service launches this summer, with a consumer service to follow some time in the next year.

BT's super-fast 4G LTE service is aimed at businesses to begin with. Anyone can register an email address to be contacted with more details of the launch, but there's no indication yet of when BT will launch a 4G service for consumers.

"We will launch innovative new mobility services for business in the coming weeks," a BT spokesperson told CNET today, "and the first consumer services by April next year. The first consumer services will use our MVNO deal with EE."

BT's deal with EE, the first British 4G network, to is to use EE's infrastructure. When BT does launch 4G, it will join the other major networks including EE, O2, Three, Tesco Mobile and Vodafone in offering super-fast data speeds.

To compete with rivals like Virgin Media and Sky, BT has to offer a complete slate of telecoms and related services. Virgin is the first to offer a "quad-play" package -- broadband, landline phone, mobile phone and TV -- and if BT can add mobile deals to its existing line-up it's an extra piece of the puzzle.

"BT is still trying to work out what to do with what's going on in its market," said analyst Shaun Collins of CCS Insight when BT joined forces with EE earlier this year, "but as it goes through a reinvention focused on using BT Vision TV services to defend its broadband position, 4G must be in its thinking."

Virgin also piggy-backs on EE's masts and infrastructure, which power a 4G network that now reaches 200 towns and cities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.