Mobile operator O2 launched new 4G tariffs on Thursday for new and existing customers with specific packages for small businesses. The company also revealed that it had hit its LTE coverage ahead of schedule.

O2's 4G 'Refresh Airtime' tariffs start at £17 a month, coming with unlimited texts, minutes and 1GB of data. On top of this the mobile company has added £22 and £27 alternatives which offer 5GB and 8GB of data. The selection, which is available on pay monthly, lease and SIM only, does not include the price of the handset.

Small and medium-sized companies will have access to individual and shared 4G tariffs as well as 4G ready devices to help support their business and enable them to "do more on the move". O2 has also announced new 12 month SIM-only tariffs priced at £21, £26 and £31 respectively. What's more, existing 3G customers of O2 will be entitled to an upgrade to 4G at no extra cost.

"Unleash the possibilities"

General Manager of Marketing Phil Maple said, "We are committed to helping our customers unleash the possibilities of 4G, which is why we're introducing these new tariffs designed to give even more people the chance to experience the very best in mobile technology."

Following O2's launch of the 4G network on 29 August, the firm has reached its coverage target six weeks ahead of schedule. The service covers 14 cities and 130 surrounding towns, and now has more than 18 million users, almost a third of the UK population. "They can now experience the remarkable things O2 4G has to offer, thanks to the fastest network rollout in our history," said Maple.

O2's expansion of its 4G network sees it compete against rival operator Everything Everywhere, who launched the UK's first 4G mobile internet service in September last year.