We’re quite used to hearing bad news with regards to 4G in the UK. We’ve had claims from O2 that the proposed auction process is “illegal”, rumours of the auction being delayed and the suggestion that widespread 4G mightn’t drop till 2015.
But we’ve got good news for a change now, as Ofcom now says it wants 4G – when it does eventually go live – to be available to 98% of the UK.
And there’s more! Ofcom adds that the auction is still planned before the end of 2012, with the finer details being ironed out in a 10-week consultation process ending April.
A slice of 4G pie will also be reserved for “innovative new mobile services”. Ofcom explains: "Potential applications include local mobile networks for student campuses, hospitals or commercial offices, which operate on short-range frequencies serving a small area."
As we’ve heard before, Ofcom is keen to give the networks a fair share, to ensure customers have choice when it comes to 4G. The regulator doesn’t want 4G-hungry dogs in Edinburgh to be forced into signing with O2, for example.
“As the UK enters a new generation of mobile communications, Ofcom’s objective is to promote effective competition and to stimulate both investment and innovation.
“We are proposing a significant enhancement of mobile broadband, extending 4G coverage beyond levels of existing 2G coverage – helping to serve many areas of the UK that have traditionally been underserved by network coverage.”