Vodafone and O2 Roll Out 4G LTE Networks in the UK

For almost a year, EE has had the UK's 4G LTE market entirely to itself. On Thursday, that ended, as rival carrier's O2 and Vodafone launched their own 4G services.

Vodafone and O2 announced their intention to offer 4G service earlier this summer. The former is launching only in London first and plans to roll out service in Birmingham, Bradford, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, and Sheffield before the end of the year. O2's launch is a bit more aggressive. The company will serve five million people right off the bat thanks to simultaneous roll-outs in London, Leeds and Bradford, and hopes to make it to 13 cities by the end of the year.

O2 is offering 4G SIM-only packages starting at £26 for 1 GB of data and go up to £36 a month for 5 GB of data. Similarly, Vodafone's SIM-only 4G plans will also start at £26, but that will get you 2 GB of data compared to O2's 1 GB. EE offers 1 GB of data for £26 per month on its SIM-only plans. Vodafone customers will also get six months of either Spotify Premium or Sky Sports MobileTV for free. Vodafone's plans go up to £36 for 8 GB of data. O2's £36 per month SIM-only plan offers 5 GB of data, while EE customers can get 5 GB of data for £36, 8 GB for £41, or 20 GB for £61.

Follow Jane McEntegart @JaneMcEntegart. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.