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U.K.'s 4G pushes forward, with 17 new locales on tap

Provider EE continues to expand its 4G network with the goal of being in 35 towns and cities by the end of March 2013.

Residents in an additional 17 towns and cities in the U.K. will have the option of signing up for EE's 4G LTE network by March 2013.

Everything Everywhere -- a collaboration between mobile operators Orange and T-Mobile -- launched the United Kingdom's first 4G network in October this year. Although these two carriers still exist, for next-generation data speeds EE is one of the only options currently available.

In addition to extending 4G coverage, the company said it plans to upgrade its 3G network to DC-HSPA, which will result in faster speeds for non-4G customers, including those on the Orange and T-Mobile networks.

A full list of cities and towns to be activated can be found here. The carrier says will bring next-gen network speeds to approximately 4 million additional people in the United Kingdom.

EE said in a statement today:

By the end of the first quarter of 2013, 4G will be available in 35 towns and cities across the UK, making superfast mobile accessible to thousands more customers and businesses every day. We're delighted with the progress of the 4G rollout - we are improving the network every day, delivering superfast mobile to more and more people right across metropolitan areas, whether they're using their devices outdoors or in their homes and offices.

In addition to the planned 4G rollout, the company says it will be increasing network density of mobile sites in order to improve coverage, and make the network more easily accessible in urban areas.

EE has previously said that contracts to sign up for 4G services are only 5 pounds ($8) dearer than standard 3G networking. According to the company, the average download speed on its 4G network is 17.0Mbps across the United Kingdom.

In the U.S., meanwhile, Sprint Nextel's planned rollout of its 4G LTE network to major cities including New York and San Francisco may also be destined for activation in March 2013, as the carrier plays catchup with Verizon and AT&T.