Mobile phone operator Vodafone has announced that it plans to switch on 4G in London on August 29, the same day O2 launches its 4G network in three UK cities.

Twelve more locations will get switched on before the end of the year. They include: Birmingham, Bradford, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield

Price plans will begin at £26 a month (SIM only, for 2GB of data) and the operator has already listed a choice of compatible handsets, including the Samsung Galaxy S4, the Nokia 925 and the Blackberry Z10.

Although the firm’s 4G network won’t be active until the end of the month, Vodafone is inviting customers to sign up in store and online from August 12.

Existing customers can upgrade from 3G to 4G for an extra £5 a month.

In order to attract more customers and set itself apart from 4G rivals EE and O2, Vodafone is offering unlimited data for the first three months, along with a choice of Spotify Premium’s 20-million song collection or 150 hours of Premier League football.

"With 4G, speed is just the start; it's what you do with it that really matters. We are taking 4G into a new league by offering sport; and changing the tune with all the music you could want. 4G is finally worth getting and there's plenty to look forward to," said Guy Laurence, CEO of Vodafone UK.

Until recently, EE (formerly known as Everything Everywhere) has been the only mobile phone operator to offer 4G LTE in the UK. Since its launch, it has rolled the service out to 95 UK cities and signed up 687,000 users. However, this still only accounts for 2.5 per cent of its 27 million customers.

Vodafone and O2 will also have to compete with EE’s ‘double speed’ 4G (up to 60Mbps and available in 15 of the 95 towns and cities it serves) and cheaper basic tariff.

Switching to a 4G network allows customers the chance to download content several times faster than is possible on 3G.

Ofcom estimates 4G services will provide at least £20bn in benefits to UK consumers over the next ten years.

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