O2 to launch 4G network on August 29


Faster speeds to be available in 13 cities and 30 per cent of the population by the end of the year, with tariffs beginning at £26 a month 

O2 has announced that its 4G network will go live on August 29, switching on in London, Leeds and Bradford and reaching up to five million people.

A further 10 cities will follow before the end of the year – Birmingham, Newcastle, Glasgow, Liverpool, Nottingham, Leicester, Coventry, Sheffield, Manchester and Edinburgh.

The operator is planning to make 4G available to an additional two million people per month, culminating in its 2G, 3G and 4G network reaching 98 per cent of the UK population by the end of 2015.

O2 is launching a range of tariffs from £26 a month at launch, available on contract and SIM-only, including O2 Refresh. Prepay tariffs will launch in the coming months.

The new service will initially be available on 20 handsets, with more to follow in the coming weeks and months. Existing customers with a 4G device can swap their 3G SIM for a 4G one, seeing out the remainder of their contract whilst paying an additional fee for using the faster network.

Each will come with a 30 day ‘Happiness Guarantee’, meaning if customers are not totally happy with what they have in this period, O2 will help transfer them to a 3G tariff.

Anyone signing up for a 4G consumer tariff will receive 12 months of free music and video content. O2 said it will announce further details on its 4G portfolio in the coming months.

From today, O2 has introduced an in-store and social media campaign in a bid to encourage people to be ‘#O24G’ Ready, inviting people to get their 4G-ready handset and free 4G SIM now, either in an O2 store or via an O2 business account manager.

All customers will also be offered free advice and guidance on 4G from an O2 Guru at launch, either in-store or via web chat, to help them realise how 4G can benefit them. Business customers can receive a consultation with their O2 business account manager to also discuss how their company can benefit from the new faster speeds.

When Ofcom closed the 4G spectrum auction in February, it was announced that O2 had spent £550 million to secure 2x10MHz of spectrum at 800MHz.

O2 UK CEO Ronan Dunne (pictured) said: “It is our intention to use 4G to inspire the nation through the possibilities of technology, encouraging people to live more, do more and be more with O2.

“Over half of our customers say they use more data than two years ago and even more use Wi-Fi wherever they go, to always stay connected. Given this trend, there is no doubt that 4G will transform our lives, be it as consumers, in business or through public sector services.”