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Vodafone and O2 launch 4G networks today in London, Bradford and Leeds

August 29th isn’t normally a date we have to save, but apart from it being the date that Skynet becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern (albeit back in 1997!), today is officially the day that 4G in the UK gets real as both Vodafone and O2 launch their 4G networks today.

However, August 29th may be the launch date for O2 and Vodafone but it’s not all go just yet as O2 is initially launching its 4G LTE service in just three cities from today: London, Leeds and Bradford. Vodafone is doing even less by only launching its 4G services in London.

Comparing this to EE’s coverage of 100 towns and cities, accounting for 60% coverage of the UK’s population, there’s certainly much more of a hill to climb for Vodafone and O2 to get in contention with EE in terms of coverage.

O2 revealed its 4G price and tariff plans two weeks ago where plans are simplified into 1GB, 3GB and 5GB monthly data bundles, all coming with unlimited talk time and texts to boot, with prices ranging from £26-36 per month for O2’s SIM-only Simplicity contracts and £22-£32 per month for the O2 Refresh tariff, where users will need to buy their own phone.

Vodafone’s 4G starts on its existing Red contracts, whereby if a customer already has a 4G enabled phone (Galaxy S4, HTC One etc) then they can upgrade to 4G for an extra £5 per month which scores double mobile data per month plus Spotify or Sky Sports Mobile TV as part of the deal.

Phones, tablets and mobile broadband dongles will all be available on Vodafone Red 4G, with 24 month contracts starting from £34 per month and 12 month contracts from £52 a month, with a host of different tariffs aimed to suit the callers, texters and mobile internet users.

Vodafone also has a range of 4G dongles starting from £20 per month for 4GB of data, running to £30 for 10GB on 12 month plans.

Vodafone has also stated that they will be rolling 4G coverage to other cities including Birmingham, Bradford, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield in the coming months.

It’s all go with 4G but sadly, still a bit costly at the moment. However in a few month’s time we could see the competition between Vodafone, O2, EE and now Three (launching in December) bring down the price of 4G tariffs whilst the coverage is rolled out across the UK.

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