Vodafone has announced it will launch its 4G LTE network in the UK on the same day as rival O2.
The operator – the third after EE and O2 to provide the next generation technology – will switch on the new service in London on 29 August.
Launches in Birmingham, Bradford, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield will follow “before the end of the year”.
Vodafone – the biggest spender at the auction with €906 million giving them spectrum in both the 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz bands – promised to bring indoor 4G coverage to 98 percent of the UK population by 2015.
Vodafone’s Red 4G-ready plans will be available from 12 August and it is tempting retail and enterprise markets with music, sport and data.
For retail customers, the operator has partnered with Sky Sports Mobile TV and Spotify Premium – users who sign up must choose one or the other and get the service free for between six months and two years depending on which tariff they choose.
Customers who already have a 4G-ready phone and want a SIM-only deal can get 4G for £26 a month. There are three pay monthly deals starting from £34.
Those wishing to upgrade to 4G from an existing Red plan can pay £5 extra each month, but get double the amount of data they currently have as well as the choice of Sky Sports and Spotify.
“With 4G, speed is just the start: it’s what you do with it that really matters,” said CEO Guy Laurence. “We are taking 4G into a new league by offering sport; and changing the tune with all the music you could want.”
Enterprise customers, meanwhile, can share double the data allowance available on standard Red plans between up to four users and eight devices.
Packages, which start at £21 a month, include unlimited calls and texts plus an optional landline number.
Businesses with five or more users will be able to pool their data allowance across users on 4G as well as 3G “soon”, according to a statement.
Laurence commented: “Even the smallest business user has multiple devices that they want to use to access crucial information and with Vodafone Red Business 4G-ready they’ll be able to share their generous allowance in the way they want.
“They can do all this safe in the knowledge that they’re hooked into our best ever network, built on the fact that we own more of our own fibre backbone than other networks and supported by more than £900 million worth of investment this year alone.”