Vodafone 4G customers get free Sky Sports

We'll soon have a choice of three 4G mobile providers and Vodafone is hoping to stand out from its rivals by offering something extra - free Spotify or Sky Sports streaming on your 4G enabled device.

Vodafone is offering an extra incentive to mobile customers signing up for a 4G contract when its 'superfast' network is launched later this month.

Sports fans will be able to stream Sky Sports Mobile TV on their smartphone completely free of charge when Vodafone 4G goes live on Thursday 29 August, 2013.

It's the same day O2 launches a new 4G network and will mean there are three major UK mobile providers offering 4G mobile internet, typically five times faster than 3G.

The first provider to offer 4G was EE, which launched in October last year, and it has since grown to have almost 700,000 subscribers.

Vodafone customers who sign up to a 4G contract - available to order from Monday 12 August, 2013 - will have the choice of either six months free Sky Sports Mobile TV or a six-month Spotify Premium subscription, if sport isn't their thing.

Guy Laurence, Vodafone's chief executive, has said the company is "very chilled" about 4G and feels little pressure to make it universally available in any great hurry.

As such, the Sky Sports and Spotify subscriptions will also be offered to Vodafone's 3G customers for £5 extra per month. However, a 3G connection is unlikely to provide the mobile internet speeds required for reliable streaming.

Although 4G will provide a better connection for streaming Sky Sports or Spotify on the go, customers are likely to be restricted by a data limit - Vodafone hasn't yet confirmed how tight these will be - and could face extra costs if they go over their limit.

Also, the Vodafone incentives will only be free for the first six months of the 4G contract, most likely 12 or 18 months in length, and will cost £5 per month thereafter.

Vodafone 4G will launch in London and should reach 13 cities by the end of the year - following the same roll-out schedule as O2, with which it is sharing 4G masts.

By contrast, EE initially launched in 11 locations but has since been made available in 95 towns and cities, reaching more than 60% of the UK population.

While Vodafone concentrates on free entertainment, EE's main selling points are the fact it 'pioneered' 4G in the UK, as well as the coverage and speed of its network. The fourth major UK network, Three, is expected to launch 4G later on this year.

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