The UK’s first 4G mobile network went live in Manchester last week.
The country’s largest network operator EE, until recently Everything Everywhere, owner of T-Mobile and Orange, rolled out the new service on October 29.
Manchester is one of 11 cities around the UK to get the superfast network, which will see speeds between 8 and 12 mbps, up to five times faster than its predecessor 3G, allowing users to stream TV without buffering and download movies in minutes.
The company is investing £13.8m in its network in the city. All Orange and T-Mobile stores in the region will become EE stores.
Twenty million people can currently access the technology, but the company plans to roll out the service to more towns, cities and areas next year, and aims to reach 98 per cent of the population by 2014.
“Today is a landmark day for our company, the UK mobile industry and, most importantly, the country’s businesses and consumers,” Olaf Swantee, CEO at EE, saidin a press release. “But this is just the start as our 4G network will continue to grow stronger and wider by the day.
“We’re investing £1.5 billion in our network to be the first company to offer mobile 4G in the UK.”
The base rate tariff for 4G will be £36 a month and have a limit of 500MB data usage, with the top end at 8GB, costing £56 a month.
The other cities with the network are London, Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, Glasgow and Southampton.
By Christmas, Belfast, Derby, Hull, Newcastle, Nottingham and Southampton will also have access.
Countries such as the United States, Japan and Germany already have 4G networks.