EE announces 4 July launch for double-speed 4G network across UK

EE has announced that its double-speed 4G network is going live in 12 major UK cities on 4 July.

Speaking at an event in London, the telecommunications firm also announced the launch of Cash on Tap, Bright Box 2 and its brand new shared 4GEE plans.

In theory, users will gain access to top speeds of 150Mbps, but EE has revealed that average speeds of between 24-30Mbps are more likely.

Still, current 4G customers, who will be upgraded at no extra cost, should see download times halve.

The upgrade puts the UK's 4G network ahead of all others around the world, except for South Korea's. "Our new double speed 4G technology means that we have the biggest, fastest and best network in the UK, and now the equal fastest in the world," said Olaf Swantee, CEO of EE.

The company last month said that it was doubling 4G speeds in 10 cities, namely Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Sheffield, but Derby and Nottingham have just emerged as surprise additions.

The move comes just months before rivals, such as Vodafone and O2, launch their own LTE networks.

"We're staying one step ahead with the launch of double speed 4G and a range of new innovative plans and services – designed to transform the way our customers connect and share content," added Swantee.

In terms of EE's other new services, the shared 4G plan will come into life on 17 July. Aimed at families and couples, up to five devices will be able to connect to a single package, gaining unlimited calls and texts while sharing a data allowance.

EE has also teamed up with MasterCard to launch Cash on Tap, its new NFC payment service, which is supported by over 230,000 UK outlets.

Finally, there's also the Bright Box 2 wireless router, which EE says will offer stronger Wi-Fi signals to EE's fibre broadband customers.

EE last month announced that its 4G service has surpassed the 500,000 subscribers mark.