EE launches the first 4G network in the UK today, plans starting at 500MB for £36 a month

Everything Everywhere, a 50/50 joint venture between Deutsche Telekom and France Télécom, has launched the UK’s first 4G network today, citing speeds “typically ten times faster” than broadband. The 4G service is now available in 11 cities: Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Sheffield, and Southampton. The rollout across the UK will continue 2,000 square miles every month to cover 98% of the country’s population by 2014, the company announced.

4G data plans on EE will start monthly at 500MB for £36, 1GB for £41, 3GB for £46, 5GB for £51, and 8GB for £56. There are six compatible phones that customers can purchase at T-Mobile and Orange stores to use on EE, and as announced last month the iPhone 5 is one of them, along with the iPad mini and 4th gen iPad in mid-November. 4G service will also be available in the UK from Vodafone, O2 and Three in May 2013, after dealing with government regulation.

EE CEO Olaf Swantee discussed the rollout: “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.”

Additionally EE launched 700 retail stores today, offering a place for customers to buy handsets and sign contracts for the 4G network. EE is calling it “one of the biggest and fastest transformations in UK retail history.”

More in the PR below: