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Paying 4G prices for a 3G service in Worcestershire
CUSTOMERS paying for super-fast mobile services in Worcester say they cannot get connected - and have no idea when they will be able to.
The 4G broadband service was rolled out in major cities by mobile provider EE, the company that owns T-Mobile and Orange, in August 2012.
But it has yet to reach Worcester on EE or any other network provider, and no one can say when it will, despite many people having signed up for contracts including the service.
Chris Clayton, of Warndon Villages, Worcester, said when he took his 4G contract out in August last year, he thought he would be getting the services in a matter of weeks.
He said: "It was all over the TV last year when it was the new thing and now we are paying for all these services, because they said they were rolling it out across the country, and as far as I'm concerned, they've not rolled it out any more than when I took out the contract."
Mr Clayton pays £41 a month and is committed for 24-months but has to go to Birmingham to have the coverage he pays an extra £11 a month for compared to his previous 3G contract amount.
Hazel Davis, from Worcester, said she was recently upgraded to a 4G contract and now pays £39.99 a month for a service she does not receive.
And it is not just Worcester suffering from the lack of network, as James Dodd, from Upton upon Severn, who is on the same plan as Mr Clayton, has not yet been able to connect near his home.
"I took out a contract with EE with a 4G service as it was part of an early upgrade offer," he said.
"The closest locations I've managed to use 4G is Cheltenham and Birmingham."
When contacted regarding coverage in Worcestershire, an EE spokesman said: "If any of our customers have enquiries about their accounts, they can contact our customer services teams in store, over the phone or online.”
Lee Freeman, a Vodafone customer in Worcester, upgraded his contract eight months ago but has yet to get connected outside of the capital city.
He said: "I had text come through saying, '4G is now in your area! Reply yes and receive Spotify or Sky Sports free for 6 months.'
"It then automatically upgraded adding an extra £5 a month to my bill, I waited a couple of months and still wasn't getting 4G and if anything my 3G had got slower.
"I spoke to someone in store and they said, 'yeah, we haven't got 4G, the only place that has is London at the moment'.
"I said then why did they text me saying it is. His reply was, 'I don't know'."
The network said even though the city did not yet have coverage, people with 4G contracts would become automatically connected when it arrived.
A spokesman for Vodafone said: "While we are bringing 4G services across the country, we started with the major conurbations like London and Manchester. 4G is now available in 208 cities and towns.
"Our 4G handsets work on the existing network and will automatically use 4G when it becomes available."
But bucking the trend of expensive tariff upgrades, O2 have made the prices of 3G and 4G the same and have been upgrading people for free so they can use it when they are in a covered area.
An O2 spokesman said: "Last December we launched some new pay monthly 4G tariffs, making it easy for customers to experience O2 4G.
"As part of this we’re also helping existing customers who have purchased a 4G-Ready handsets from us by adding our 4G service onto their 3G tariff at no extra cost, so they can experience some of the great benefits of O2 4G.
"We’re contacting those customers now and over the coming weeks to let them know about getting 4G."
O2 customers can also register for updates on timescales on when 4G services will launch in specific areas by visiting o2.co.uk/4g/coverage-and-cities.
Mobile customers with other networks should visit their provider's websites to see a map of 2G, 3G and 4G networks that are available across the country.