4G mobile broadband
hits Bicester

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Businesses and residents can get superfast mobile broadband in Bicester from this week after it became one of more than 100 towns around the country to be included in a major 4G coverage launch.

The 4G service provided by EE is said to be five times faster than the old 3G provision.

EE, which is the only mobile operator offering a 4G service in Oxfordshire, also launched the service in Milton Keynes this week.

The move comes around a fortnight after Oxfordshire County Council announced it had awarded a multi-million-pound contract to BT to bring faster broadband to homes and businesses in the county.

EE spokesman Rakesh Kotak said the expansion of 4G mobile broadband services was “great news for customers”.

He added: “Residents and businesses can do more on the move around the region, sharing content, streaming from the web and working online, no matter where they are.”

The firm says local retailers, including those at Bicester Village, could take advantage of the situation as recent research shows 71 per cent of 4G users use their smartphones or tablets to shop.

EE’s 4G coverage now reaches 60 per cent of the UK population, the firm says, with plans to cover 98 per cent of the population by the end of next year.

The older 2G and 3G services currently reach more than 99 per cent of the population.

News of the 4G launch comes around a fortnight after Oxfordshire County Council announced the start of a £25million programme to bring better broadband to homes and businesses.

The programme aims to bring broadband of more than 24Mbps to at least 90 per cent of all premises in Oxfordshire by the end of 2015.

Speaking at the start of the Oxfordshire broadband programme, the county’s member for business, Councillor Nick Carter, said officials would have to be realistic over the prospect of reaching every village and hamlet.

“Oxfordshire is the most rural county in the South East, so we have had to be pragmatic in trying to extend the social and economic benefits of broadband to as many homes and businesses as possible,” said Cllr Carter.

This week’s 4G launch may help some of the more remote villages in the Bicester area that would not benefit from the Oxfordshire broadband project.