O2 has revealed its 4G adverts, suggesting that it’ll soon launch a service to rival EE.
According to O2’s marketing campaign, we can expect to see its new 4G LTE tariffs before the summer is out. That would put it in a very strong position. Owners of smartphones and tablets have currently only got one major network to choose from, EE; the second network to launch has the potential to sign up all of the people who have been holding back to see what the competition can offer.
According to O2’s CEO, Ronan Dunne, the company is waiting for the UK government to hand over the spectrum O2 paid for at auction. As soon as that happens, it’ll kick off the launch of its 4G service. According to The Telegraph, the last analogue TV signals are due to be switched off on Wednesday, and that will mark the beginning of the changeover.
But is 4G really all it’s cracked up to be? Tablet owner haven’t scrambled to take up expensive 4G connections so far, and O2 will need to address EE’s shortcomings if it’s going to make an impression. That means giving consumers the unlimited data tariffs they crave while also undercutting EE on price and offering the latest devices. It’s a tall order.
Vodafone and 3 will also be launching 4G soon, but they’re keeping quiet about their schedules. We’re expecting Vodafone to piggyback its 4G launch on the back of the next iPhone or iPad, while 3 probably won’t launch its LTE service until the end of the year.
But there’s a big reason to wait for 4G on 3: the network has promised that it won’t charge extra for the super-fast connection. That could signal all-you-can-eat 4G data at bargain basement prices.
In 2014, we’ll see LTE Advanced come to the UK, offering customers double-4G speeds. Yet again, EE will have a head start; it’s the only network that has enough capacity to offer it.