EE, formally Everything Everywhere, has today switched on its 4G mobile-broadband network in the UK.

The super-fast mobile-broadband service is now available in 11 UK cities, including Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Sheffield and Southampton. Five more UK cities will be connected by Christmas, and EE has said it will increase the rollout by 2,000-square miles each month, with 98 percent of the country slated to gain access by the end of 2014. See What is 4G?

4G mobile broadband will enable smartphone, tablet and laptop users to do all the things for which they normally rely on a Wi-Fi connection on the move. In real terms, this means they will be able to quickly download large attachments and HD movies in minutes, watch live TV without buffering, play live multiplayer games and make high-quality video calls. See 4G vs 3G speed test.

4G EE: Mobile broadband plans

EE's 4G pricing starts at £36 per month for 500MB of data, up to £56 for 8GB. All plans include unlimited calls and text messages. EE has said 4G doesn't use any more data than 3G, although we expect that the faster connection will mean customers will begin to enjoy more bandwidth-hungry activities. See EE 4G data plans.

Existing Orange and T-Mobile customers must actively switch to EE to gain 4G services, regardless of whether they are already seeing the EE logo displayed on their devices. EE has said it will make the process straightforward - and free - for consumers, but they must sign up to an 18- or 24-month contract of the same or higher value as their current contract.

Those hoping to access 4G will also need a 4G-compatible smartphone, or a 4G mobile hotspot. Early examples include the Apple iPhone 5, HTC One XL, Huawei Ascend P1 LTE, Nokia Lumia 820 and 920 LTE, Samsung Galaxy Note II LTE and Samsung Galaxy S III LTE.

4GEE launches in the UK

4G EE: 700 new stores

A staggering 700 EE stores have opened today, in what the company claims is one of the biggest and fastest transformations in UK retail history.

4G EE: 76Mbps fibre-optic broadband

EE has also launched its fibre-optic broadband service, which offers speeds of up to 76Mbps to 11 million premises.

Olaf Swantee, CEO at EE, said: “Today is a landmark day for our company, the UK mobile industry and, most importantly, the country’s businesses and consumers.

“But this is just the start as our 4G network will continue to grow stronger and wider by the day. We’re investing £1.5 billion in our network to be the first company to offer mobile 4G in the UK, alongside the biggest 3G network. Combined with our Fibre Broadband and revolutionary service model we have a pioneering and unique offer to customers across the UK – super-fast speeds in the home, super-fast speeds on the move and expert service on nearly every high street in Britain.”