Vodafone looks set to be one of the biggest players in the 4G stakes thanks to an enormous investment at Ofcom’s 4G spectrum auction. They spent £790,761,000 (the next highest spender was EE with £588,876,000) and came away with 2 x 10 MHz of 800 MHZ, 2 x 20 MHz of 2.6 GHz and an additional 1 x 25 MHz of unpaired 2.6 GHz, giving them a lot of spectrum for use in both rural and urban areas.
They’re ramping up to roll out 4G later this year, but even though Vodafone’s 4G service isn’t available yet that doesn’t mean that you can’t be ready for when it is. In order to make the switch as easy as possible for customers who want it, Vodafone have already made a substantial number of 4G ready phones available. There are currently 64 4G compatible phones available from Vodafone - and the same selection is available for business users.
Of course some of them are just different coloured versions of the same handset, but that’s still going to leave a good 30 or 40 different phones. These range from top end devices like the iPhone 5, HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4, through mid range offerings such as the Nokia Lumia 820 and the Samsung Galaxy S2, right down to entry level handsets like the HTC Desire C and the Nokia Asha 302. So there should be something for all tastes and all budgets.
There are a bunch of different contracts available too and if you buy a 4G ready phone from Vodafone the network promise to let you know as soon as 4G is available in your area. At which point you’ll have the opportunity to add Vodafone 4G to your contract - though be aware that this will also add to the monthly amount that you have to pay.
Of course if you’re on Vodafone there’s no need to get a 4G handset yet - since you could just as well get one once 4G actually rolls out, but if you’re interested in 4G and due an upgrade anyway you might as well get a 4G ready phone, so that you’re good to go once it is available.
Even if you’re not due an upgrade by the time Vodafone 4G launches you might still be eligible for one. If you purchased a pay monthly Samsung Galaxy S3 or Samsung Galaxy Note 2 from Vodafone between 26/10/2012 and 31/03/2013 and have paid at least three monthly bills on your plan then you can return the handset to one of their stores, where 70% of the remaining charges on your plan will be knocked off- leaving you with just 30% left to pay and the chance to upgrade early.
The same offer exists for the iPhone 5 - but it’s even better because it applies for handsets bought up to the 31/06/2013.
Vodafone aren’t the only ones ramping up for 4G, a selection of 4G ready handsets are also available from O2 and Three, while EE already have a live 4G network - so if you want to experience 4G speeds today they’re the network to go with.