EE switches on 4G in 100th town ahead of O2 and Vodafone’s initial launch

With competitors O2 and Vodafone set to launch their 4G networks for the first time tomorrow, EE has looked to steal some of the limelight by switching on their superfast network in town number 100 today.

The centenary honour has been handed to Accrington Stanley and the service is also being made available in nine other towns before the end of the month, but the focus today is very much on the Lancashire town, with EE releasing a special video that sees footballing legend Ian Rush revisiting his infamous 1980s Milk Board advertisement (see video, below).

The milestone illustrates the head start EE has had in the superfast market - Vodafone will only be switching on 4G in London tomorrow, whilst O2 will only be launching in the capital and Leeds. Both have said the network will be available in around 10 other towns and cities including Birmingham, Nottingham and Manchester by the end of the year.

EE's 4G network now covers 60 per cent of the UK, ten months after it first launched.

EE was given the advantage when Ofcom granted the company permission to repurpose some of its existing spectrum for 4G use, a trick that its rivals seem to have missed. Vodafone, O2 and Three then had to wait for the 4G auction to purchase additional spectrum.

EE has also switched on double speed 4G in a further five towns today – Sunderland, Sutton Coldfield, Walsall, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton. The network's double speed 4G is now available in 20 towns and cities across the country.

"As the pioneers of 4G in the UK, we've made a commitment to deliver not only the biggest 4G network, but the fastest too," EE CEO Olaf Swantee said.

"It's a commitment we're delivering on day in, day out for the people and businesses of Britain. Today we reach our 100th 4G town and double the 4G speeds in five more locations."

As well as Accrington, EE's 4G network is also being launched in Ashford, Bicester, Colchester, Guildford, Redhill, Sevenoaks, Tunbridge Wells and Woking this week.