Ofcom in 4G Talks Today

News Article - Tuesday, 02 October 2012 11:01

By: Kerry Butters Category: Connectivity

UK telecoms regulator Ofcom is to meet with mobile operators and Culture Secretary Maria Miller later today, to discuss bringing forward the rollout of 4G services, as well as the possibility of bringing the spectrum auction forward.

It’s thought that discussions will include possible plans to have 4G services rolling out as early as May 2013, although this is likely to be through Everything Everywhere (EE), who have already been given permission to use a part of their existing spectrum to offer the service.

EE announced a couple of weeks ago that they would be rolling out 4G services to 16 UK cities as soon as possible; however, so far they have not released an official launch date for the service.

Rival companies O2 and Vodafone have since complained that EE are being allowed to offer the service before the spectrum auction takes place early next year, with O2 threatening to take legal action over the matter.

However, if the auction is brought forward, it’s likely that it will only be by two weeks or so, meaning that only EE will be able to offer 4G until that time and giving them an unfair advantage over competitors.

Last week, Vodafone and O2 were given permission by Ofcom to share their network masts and other technologies so that they can over better coverage for their UK customers. It’s also thought that this will allow the two companies to roll out 4G services quickly when they become available following the auction.

"One physical grid, running independent networks, will mean broader coverage and, crucially, investment in innovation and better competition for the customer," O2 boss Ronan Dunne said in a statement.

The upcoming auction will sell off part of the radio waves spectrum that was previously used for terrestrial television; 4G will give consumers faster mobile browsing and download speeds.

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