Customers of U.K. carriers Orange and T-Mobile keen to sign up to the country’s first 4G LTE network (launching from EE), which will go live in ten cities on October 30, will need an LTE handset to do so. EE, the parent company of the Orange, T-Mo joint venture, has today announced it’s adding Samsung’s latest phablet phone — the Galaxy Note II LTE — to its launch line-up of 4G-ready handsets.
The Galaxy Note II will be available from October 15, while three other 4G handsets go on sale today: the Samsung Galaxy SIII LTE, the HTC One XL and the Huawei Ascend P1 LTE. Orange and T-Mobile customers are also able to upgrade to EE by buying the Apple iPhone 5.
Two more handsets — the Windows Phone 8-based Nokia Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 — are also set to be ranged by EE . For now, there’s no word on their availability. This is presumably because Microsoft hasn’t released the WP8 software yet, reportedly due to arrive towards the end of this month.
In addition to owning an LTE handset, EE customers will need to upgrade to a 4G tariff. These new price plans have not yet been announced. An EE spokesman noted: “We’ll have more information on pricing in the coming weeks.”
The pace of 4G adoption in the U.K. is likely to be determined by where EE sets the bar on price. It has less wiggle room than it might have done, however, following the crunch talks between carriers and regulators which have sped up the timetable for the launch of rival 4G networks from O2 and Vodafone. EE will now only gain a six month head-start, rather than a full year.