E-Plus has announced that it will start rolling out LTE in Germany from early next month.
According to the company, most current E-Plus and BASE customers will receive a free but temporary upgrade to the LTE network — with the notable exception of those who use iPhones on the E-Plus network.
The operator "working on a solution" for the iPhone issue, a spokesperson for the company said, adding that the problem is not with the network but with the hardware, and that "Apple must take action".
Apple offers LTE support for the iPhone on an operator-by-operators basis, and E-Plus and BASE are not currently included on Apple's list of supported networks. As of now, there is no specific date for when Apple plans to add the two brands.
The company has not announced any specifics regarding network speeds for the new LTE network. Currently, customers who sign up for BASE's 3G High Speed for Everyone promotion can expect maximum download speeds of up to 42Mbps until the end of June, through dual-cell HSPA technology.
Starting in July, all promotional speeds will fall back to what was initially stipulated in individuals' contracts — at which point customers will presumably be offered LTE's faster speeds for an additional fee.
For customers who upgraded to the LTE network, the operator will still throttle speeds when they reach their previously agreed-upon data limits, which start at 50MB for the company's low-end plan and range up to 2GB. When the data limits are reached, users' speeds will be throttled to 56Kpbs.
E-Plus is a latecomer to 4G in Germany. Vodafone launched the first 4G network in the country in 2010, and currently offers the service only on its mid-range and top-tier Red branded plans, which begin at about €35 per month.
O2 Germany also offers LTE on its plans priced €46 and higher, while Deutsche Telekom-owned T-Mobile customers can get LTE service on plans priced €42 and higher.
Compared to other European countries, 4G came relatively early to Germany. However, carriers in the country have had trouble getting users to pay extra for the service, since many customers are satisfied with the speed and reliability they already get from 3G.