At one point we thought we might have to wait years for super-fast data speeds, but EE, Britain's first 4G network, launches tomorrow. Many countries have beaten us to 4G, so you might be wondering whether your shiny new 4G phone will be able to get 4G speeds when you go abroad.
EE has so far only confirmed prices for 3G data roaming, but when I spoke to company representatives this afternoon, they assured me that 4G roaming would be available to customers, albeit not until an unspecified date next year.
The availability of 4G abroad is dependent on a number of factors, such as what frequencies your phone supports (EE phones will all run on 1,800MHz), and more importantly, the agreements EE manages to draw up with foreign networks.
The regions you'll be able to use foreign 4G spectrums will likely be limited, and you can expect to pay a premium on top of already pricey 3G data roaming charges for the privilege. It's too early to say yet whether, when the time comes, you'll be prompted to select either 3G or 4G roaming, but that might be something to watch out for if you're eager to keep costs down.
In preparation for tomorrow's momentous rolling out of 4G, phone shops up and down the country are being given a lick of paint today. Pop down to your friendly neighbourhood Orange or T-Mobile store tomorrow morning and you'll find your local emporium emblazoned in turquoise and yellow and the EE logo.
Don't be alarmed if you're a current Orange or T-Mobile customer and are wondering what the heck's going on -- this is still the place for you to take your queries, even though the EE branding is seriously heavy. Everything everywhere (see what I did there?) from the store front to the staff uniforms has been drenched in EE-ness. You'll struggle to find signs of Orange or T-Mobile anywhere -- except in the pay as you go section.
4G will initially only roll out to 10 cities nationwide, so if you live in an area beyond its current scope, the makeover might seem premature. EE tells me though that you can always get yourself a 4G-enabled phone on a 3G contract and wait for EE to contact you about upgrading to a 4G tariff when speedy data arrives in your region.
Whether you actually need 4G, and want to take a chance on EE rolling out to your area any time soon, is up to you to work out. For more information on the network, check out our handy guide, or hit play on the video below for pricing details.
Last week we reported that EE would be flogging the new iPad and iPad mini, but unfortunately there are still no prices, despite both going on sale on Friday. We'll endeavour to keep you updated about prices for the iPad mini on EE, so keep checking back.
Are you keen to get 4G the moment it launches, or are you planning to wait until it's more widespread? How do you feel about the changes if you're an Orange or T-Mobile customer? Sprint down to the comments or enjoy a more leisurely jog over to our Facebook page and let us know.