Six months ahead of all competitors, EE - a joint-venture between Orange and T-Mobile - is launching the UK's first LTE network today. The initial launch rollout will cover 11 major cities: Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Sheffield, and Southampton.

EE is promising at least 2,000 square miles of coverage expansion every month (which is probably a better coverage metric for the UK), with 5 more cities to be covered by year's end.

EE has a decided advantage over its competitors due to a spectrum crunch even worse than the one currently going on in the US, with T-Mobile and Orange using spectrum refarming to work around the lack of new airwaves. EE was the only carrier to get such refarm approval from Ofcom, the UK's rough equivalent of the FCC. This has allowed EE to, some argue unfairly, get out ahead of competitors.

Estimated data speeds are 8-12Mbps down and, as is the case with LTE generally, latency should drop dramatically, as well. Data tariffs are significantly above the average in the UK, and of course include unlimited calls and text. Those tiers range from 36GBP a month for 500MB, to 56GBP a month for 8GB.

via The Guardian