4G LTE (long term evolution) technology has already taken hold in the United States; Verizon and AT&T have their networks up (and sometimes running); Sprint is getting their own LTE ready; T-Mobile USA will have LTE in 2013.
In the UK, O2 has been trialing LTE in London. And now Everything Everywhere has promised a “small scale LTE launch” by the end of 2012.
Everything Everywhere, a joint venture between Orange UK and T-Mobile UK, will begin trials in Bristol by April according to an Engadget report. The actual launch of the network is, of course, subject to Ofcom’s blessing. Everything Everywhere is also performing additional upgrades to its HSPA+ network, which is currently used by many travel SIM card customers along with the network fun by Vodafone. Everything Everywhere expects its full coverage area to be upgraded before the close of 2012.
Whether or not SIM customers at home and traveling abroad will be able to take advantage of the faster HSPA+ speeds is unknown but is likely, especially if your phone is compatible with the faster HSPA+ network. As for LTE, it is not known whether future roaming agreements will include 4G LTE roaming, but we wouldn’t be surprised if (and we hope that) these companies have something arranged very soon.