EE (formally Everything Everywhere), the UK's largest communications company, announced it is to launch the UK's first 4G service. A launch date for when the service can be used by consumers is currently unknown, but tests are underway and it is hoped that 16 cities will be able to use the service by Christmas. London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Derby, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Southampton should all have access to superfast 4G technology in the coming weeks.

4G was launched at a press conference at the Science Museum in London on 11 September 2012. EE claims the 4G network will be 5 times faster than the 3G network, and for those that do business on the move, this will be a significant step forward. For the consumer, complete music albums can be downloaded in under a minute, and HD movies can be streamed or downloaded in minutes.

EE is to release a number of handsets which will run off the 4G network, and a number of other devices are expected to be released to allow existing laptops to have access to the network too. The release of 4G networks is hoped to speed up business, whilst also allowing even more people to access high speed broadband. The hope is that by 2014, 98% of the population will have access to 4G services. One of the main advantages to the new 4G network will be accessibility to superfast broadband. For those in rural areas, who have limited access to fibre cables for their broadband, 4G can be used as an alternative.

This latest announcement is a significant development for the UK, which is currently trailing behind over 40 countries worldwide which already have access to 4G technology. There is likely to be an initial outlay for customers wishing to take advantage of the 4G systems; not only will there be the cost of the new handset or device, but also the subscription fee. However, with an ever increasing demand for data at the touch of the button, this could be a worthwhile investment.