EE, the UK's first and currently only 4G LTE network provider, has announced that it'll bring its 4G services to some 17 new British towns and cities by March 2013. The carrier also revealed that with upcoming network switch-ons in Belfast, Hull, Maidenhead and Slough, in addition to recent LTE light-ups in Derby, Newcastle and Nottingham, will bring its total markets to 18 before the end of 2012. That's ahead of the previous estimate of 16.
By March, EE plans to bring its LTE services to Bradford, Chelmsford, Coventry, Doncaster, Dudley, Leicester, Luton, Newport, Reading, Rotherham, St Albans, Sunderland, Sutton Coldfield, Walsall, Watford, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton, adding coverage for some four million Brits.
As it's been able to deploy LTE without yet acquiring new spectrum, EE has a monopoly over 4G services in the UK at the moment. But the company has faced criticism over its pricing, which is considerably higher than 3G competitors. EE has shown signs of budging on price in recent weeks, though, with data cap increases for mobile broadband users and the introduction of new 30-day data-only contracts.
Other UK network providers will be able to roll out their LTE services following the auction of 800MHz and 2600MHz spectrum, expected to complete early next year.