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4G Apple iPhone 5 video demo

29 Oct 2012

After many years of wrangling and in-fighting in the mobile industry the UK's first 4G network goes live on Tuesday, as EE switches the service on in several cities across the country including London.

V3 was given the chance to try out the new network in one of the firm's stores in London a day before the launch. We put the service through its paces, testing it out by running videos, opening web pages and downloading apps.

We were left impressed by what we saw, with two speeds tests - one an iPhone 5 and on one an HTC One X - returning speeds of 19Mbit/s (below) and 36Mbit/s respectively while a 25MB app (Angry Birds) was downloaded in roughly six seconds.

Apple iPhone 5 EE 4G network speed test screengrab

Of course the network is currently free of customers also accessing the service, so these results may be somewhat skewed, but the ability to hit speeds as high as 36Mbit/s on a mobile network is noteworthy and could well entice many to the service.

Unless of course pricing puts them off. The cost of the service was announced last week starting at £30 a month for SMBs and £36 a month for consumers offering a data allowance of 500MB, rising to a whopping £56 for 8GB of data.

The firm took some criticism for this pricing structure, with many saying the capabilities of 4G will make users consume more data than 3G and so an entry point of 500MB data use was too low.

Nevertheless, with almost six months head-start over rivals O2 and Vodafone the firm can no doubt afford to set the prices it believes consumers will pay, although its rivals are already doing their best to undermine EE's 4G launch.

Vodafone used the issue of in-building coverage to puncture EE’s boasts, explaining that it is planning on using the 800MHz spectrum  for its 4G services, which should offer better coverage than EE’s which sits in the 1800MHz range.

However, as were testing out the service in a glass-fronted store a few yards from the high-street we couldn’t really say if this will prove an issue or not.

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