T-Mobile and Orange have started selling 4G Android handsets, although Everything Everywhere, the operator behind those brands, has not yet revealed how much it will be charging for its high-speed LTE services.
Phones such as the Samsung Galaxy SIII LTE, HTC One XL and Huawei Ascend P1 LTE went on sale on Wednesday, with the Samsung Galaxy Note II LTE due to hit shelves on 15 October. Customers will be able to "upgrade" to a 4G plan under the EE brand later this year, when the operator becomes the first in the UK to move onto the next generation of mobile communications.
"We're delighted to now be offering our customers a range of 4G ready smartphones to choose from," EE marketing chief Pippa Dunn said in a statement. "Not only can they use their phones straight away on the UK's biggest 3G network, but they can also have the opportunity to be amongst the first to benefit from superfast 4G mobile speeds when we launch our EE brand."
The new handsets are not the first sold by Orange and T-Mobile to be 4G-ready, as the iPhone 5 is also equipped for such things.
Everything Everywhere has not yet made it clear how customers will be able to upgrade from 3G to 4G. However, if the system in 4G-enabled Germany is anything to go by, the process will simply involve signing up for an extra monthly fee in order to benefit from the higher speeds and, hopefully, higher data caps.
EE will have a headstart of around half a year on its rivals, when it comes to rolling out 4G. That gap looked set to be wider, but on Tuesday Ofcom announced it was bringing forward the clearance of crucial spectrum in the UK. This will allow O2, Vodafone and Three to buy spectrum at auction at the start of 2013, then roll out LTE services during the first half of the year. EE already owns spectrum it can use to provide such services.