Leicester lags behind on super-fast 4G internet
Leicester will miss out on being one of the first cities in the country to receive a super-fast new mobile internet connection.
Orange and T-Mobile owner Everything Everywhere, has announced it will make 4G products and services available to 16 cities before Christmas.
Derby, Nottingham and Birmingham will be able to use 4G by the end of the year – but Leicester is not on the list.
The new network – five times faster than the current 3G system – will allow uninterrupted access to the web on the go, more content to be uploaded and downloaded quicker, and a better service for rural users.
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Martin Traynor, managing director of Leicester Chamber of Commerce, described the snub as "disappointing."
He said: "My view is that we have to think about broadband access as the fourth utility.
"Not having 4G in Leicester will put us at a disadvantage when compared to cities such as Derby and Nottingham.
"It means we will not have that competitive edge.
"We are the largest city in the East Midlands, and Leicestershire has the largest economy in the East Midlands.
"I do not know why they have chosen not to include Leicester – I suspect they will have their reasons – but it's hugely disappointing."
Deputy City Mayor Councillor Rory Palmer said: "We want Leicester to be at the cutting edge of technological development, so we are asking Everything Everywhere why we have not made it into the first tranche of cities to get 4G technology.
"We will also be seeking to persuade them to make 4G available in Leicester as soon as possible."
However, Amit Soni, who owns Number One Listings, a company in Vaughan Way, Leicester, which helps other businesses optimise their appearance on internet search engines, said: "We rely heavily on the internet in the business, but I don't think this will make much of a difference.
"Let the other places be the guinea pigs and we will get it when everything is up and running and working.''
Everything Everywhere – renamed as EE at the 4G launch in London – began testing the new service in London, Bristol, Cardiff and Birmingham on Tuesday.
After testing, it will also be launched to 11 million customers in the four cities, as well as in Edinburgh, Belfast, Bristol, Derby, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Southampton.
The group plans to roll out the service to further towns, cities and rural areas next year, covering 70 per cent of the population, rising to 98 per cent in 2014.
It is not known when Leicestershire would be included.