O2 and Vodafone switching on 4G in five more cities

O2 and Vodafone are neck and neck

O2 and Vodafone have decided the time is right to extend their 4G offerings to more cities in the UK.

Following its launch in London, Leeds and Bradford, O2 is rolling 4G out to Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield, bringing the total number of cities covered by O2's 4G network up to eight.

Those eight cities account for more than 9.5 million people, but that's just the start for O2, which plans to have 4G switched on in five more cities by the end of the year.

Vodafone has similar plans, with the same cities all set to get access to its 4G network from 28 September. Following on from that, Vodafone plans to switch on 4G in Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester by the end of October.

If you're wondering about the symmetry in the two networks' plans, it's a pretty simple answer: the networks have a deal to share mast locations around the country, and it seems that synergy is extending to the rollout of 4G networks too.

Onwards and upwards

Ultimately both O2 and Vodafone plan to bring their 4G networks to 98% of the UK's population, with an aim of it happening by the end of 2015 - although both reckon they can manage it a little sooner.

If you're lucky enough to have woken up in Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester, Nottingham or Sheffield you can pickup an O2 4G contract from tomorrow from £26 per month. Alternatively, from Saturday you can get 4G at the same price with Vodafone.

Don't forget though that O2 and Vodafone aren't the only players in the 4G game. EE has been plying its trade for around a year now and has far more coverage than anyone else, while even Three is set to dive in soon.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.