Vodafone 4G is bringing the fight to EE and O2 on 29 August

Vodafone's launching its new super-fast network in London, with 12 more cities to follow by Christmas

Vodafone has announced that it's following in O2's footsteps in challenging EE's head start in the UK 4G race.

Its Red 4G-ready plans will be available from 12 August, with the 4G switch being flicked in London on 29 August

Sadly that's the only city that will be covered by Vodafone's 4G goodness at launch, but it promises to bestow super-fast mobile internet on 12 more cities by the end of the year. According to Voda, its 4G service will be 'six times faster than standard 3G', but as yet we don't know quite what 'standard 3G' means – we've asked for clarification.

Vodafone is also throwing in an extra incentive to new and upgrading users in the form of free Sky Sports or Spotify Premium subscriptions. The cheapest tariffs can take advantage of Sky Sports and Spotify for up to six months, with the pricier ones providing two years' access.

As for pricing, existing Vodafone users will be able to upgrade to 4G for an extra £5 a month. We've included the various options below should you want to mull it over.

12 month SIM-only contracts

All 4G plans are in dark red (the standard 3G plans are in the lobster pink columns). 12-month SIM-only contract-hunters will probably be best off with the £26/month 4G-ready plan, which offers 2GB of data.


24-month contract (with 4G handset)

Two years will nab you a shiny new phone for the prices above. We think the sweet spot is the £34/month option with 2GB data included.

12 month contract (with 4G handset)

12-month contracts with handsets are pretty pricey, with 2GB of data coming in at £52/month.

How does Vodafone 4G compare to EE and O2?

EE's substantial head start and wider coverage certainly gives it an edge over its rivals. It's also upgraded its network infrastructure to increase the speeds of its 4G network, with O2 already admitting that it wouldn't be able to match EE's speeds at launch. 

We reached out to Vodafone for a comment on how its 4G network speeds will match up with its rivals and received this response:

"...we have pledged to deliver INDOOR coverage to 98% of the UK population by 2015. We can do this because of the spectrum we bought in the 4G auction. We have twice as much low frequency spectrum than EE (which is not in fact using low frequency spectrum for its current service at all) and low frequency (800MHz) gives better indoor coverage than higher frequency spectrum".

Of course the real test to cut through all the theory and numbers will be the speeds we get in general everyday use, so stay tuned for our impressions as more 4G services roll out.