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The company behind Orange and T-Mobile will launch 4G in 10 cities initially but vows to expand reach to 16 by the end of 2012. The service will be available on several handsets at launch including the recently introduced iPhone 5 and Nokia Lumia 920.

In a statement announcing the launch, EE, which rebranded from Everything Everywhere last month, says it is proud “to be pioneering, innovating and leading our industry”.

EE was given the green-light by Ofcom to launch 4G using its existing 2G frequencies in August. The move met with criticism from rivals O2 and Vodafone, which claimed the decision was anti-competitive.

However, the two were offered a fillip yesterday (2 October) when it was agreed with the Department of Culture Media and Sport that they could use frequencies currently used for television to launch their own 4G services “by next spring”.

Despite the development, EE still has a significant competitive advantage over rivals, according to one leading mobile analyst.

Mark Newman, chief research officer at Informa Telecoms & Media, says: “The progress that Ofcom has made in the timetable for clearing the new 4G spectrum is good news for Vodafone and O2 because it means that EE’s period of LTE exclusivity will be cut from a year or more to only 6-8 months.

“However, this is still an important window of opportunity for EE to capture significant market share from high-end mobile users.”