Back in February, we heard that Everything Everywhere (Orange and T-Mobile) hoped to start rolling out 4G services by the end of the year, however Ofcom’s decision was ultimately delayed amid network bickering.
We fully understood the “monopoly” concerns, but Ofcom reckons the sooner Everything Everywhere can start rolling out 4G, the better. How does next month sound?
Ofcom will allow Everything Everywhere to use its existing 1800MHz spectrum to roll out 4G mobile from the slightly ominous date of September 11.
Realistically, however, it’ll probably be next year before 4G hits the UK smartphone arena.
As you’d expect, the other big UK networks – O2, Vodafone and Three – aren’t happy.
"We are hugely disappointed with today's announcement, which will mean the majority of customers will be excluded from the first wave of digital services," said an O2 spokesperson.
Meanwhile, a "shocked" Vodafone wept: “[Ofcom] has shown a careless disregard for the best interests of consumers, businesses and the wider economy through its refusal to properly regard the competitive distortion created by allowing one operator to run services before the ground has been laid for a fully competitive 4G market."
Finally, Three warned: "Liberalisation of 2G spectrum to date has distorted the competitive landscape in the UK, which ultimately harms consumers. Further liberalisation without addressing competition issues could make that distortion worse."
Conversely, grinning maniacally, an Everything Everywhere spokesperson beamed: “Ofcom's decision to make 4G available this year is great news for the UK. Consumers will soon be able to benefit from the much greater mobile speeds that 4G will deliver."
Better still: “4G will drive investment, employment and innovation and we look forward to making it available later this year, delivering superfast mobile broadband to the UK.”
O2, Vodafone and Three will have to wait for Ofcom’s 4G auction in 2013. Poor chaps.