Wednesday, August 22, 2012

4G - EverythingEverywhere (a.k.a. T-Mobile & Orange) will launch in September, followed by 3UK (HWL)

OFCOM has agreed that Everything Everywhere (the joint venture of Orange and T-Mobile) can use its existing 2G spectrum in the 1800 MHz band for 4G or mobile broadband services.
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. 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
OFCOM said:
Following a consultation, Ofcom has concluded that varying EE’s 1800 MHz licences now will deliver significant benefits to consumers, and that there is no material risk that those benefits will be outweighed by a distortion of competition.2 Delaying doing so would therefore be to the detriment of consumers.
Everything Everywhere is also to launch a new brand alongside Orange and T-Mobile.

Other operators will be able to bid for spectrum for 4G services in an auction later this year.

Vodafone, which must wait for the auction, is quoted by the Daily Telegraph as complaining bitterly:

We are frankly shocked that Ofcom has reached this decision

The regulator has shown a careless disregard for the best interests of consumers, business 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 market.

As part of the deal to create Everything Everywhere it undertook to competition regulators to dispose of some of its spectrum. According to IT Pro it has now sold that two lots of 1800 MHz spectrum to 3UK (Hutchison Whampoa Ltd). This will, in time, allow 3 to offer its own 4G services.

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