We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
RSS FeedTechnology

Ofcom warns UK won't get 4G until 2015


Delays to 4G auction mean the technology won't be available for another three years

Article comments

British businesses and consumers are unlikely to benefit from 4G networks until 2015, Ofcom cautioned on Tuesday.

Next-generation mobile networks won't be "widely available" for another three years at least, according to the regulator's draft 2012/13 annual plan,.

4G networks use the 800MHz and 2.6GHz radio spectrums, freed up by the switch-off of terrestrial television, to offer faster mobile broadband services, with speeds thought to be 'up to' as much as 100Mbps. 4G networks will also be able to cope with a greater capacity than existing 3G services, as use of mobile broadband increases.

The auction, which will sell off two chunks of spectrum to the UK's mobile networks, was originally scheduled to take place in September 2008 but has been delayed several times. Ofcom recently pushed the auction back to the end of 2012, following the threat of legal action by O2, which claimed the auction was illegal under EU law.

Ofcom’s proposal states that Vodafone and O2 already own part of the 900MHz spectrum, so a minimum amount of new 800MHz spectrum should be reserved for rival operators. However, O2 argues that the two different frequencies aren't directly comparable, describing the proposed spectrum floors as “a state aid”.

O2′s concerns have been backed up by Vodafone, which points out that Ofcom, in its desire to protect the UK’s smallest operator - Three - is inadvertently guaranteeing spectrum at 800MHz for Everything Everywhere, which it claims already has plenty of spectrum to run LTE. Both Vodafone and O2 say that all operators should start with a clean slate.

Meanwhile, Everything Everywhere, which is now the UK’s largest mobile operator following the merger of Orange and T-Mobile UK, has voiced its own concerns that the auction will favour Vodafone and O2. And Three UK has warned that Ofcom’s plans to re-farm 900MHz spectrum for 3G services could reduce competition by delaying LTE, and forcing Three to close.

Ofcom is continuing to claim it will hold the auction for the 800Mhz and 2.6Ghz spectrums in the 2012-2013 financial year, although this is subject to clearing the spectrums and ensuring the services that use the 800Mhz band are moved to another spectrum.

Mobile networks including O2 and Orange are already trialling 4G networks in the UK. Everything Everywhere recently teamed up with BT and Huawei to test Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G technology in Cornwall. The technology has been touted as a way to deliver broadband to rural areas of the country, and help close the so-called “digital divide”.

Sophie Curtis contributed to this report

Share:

Recommended Articles

Comments

Ofcom warns UK won't get 4G until 2015
Technology

How new technologies are transforming finance

How new technologies are transforming finance

CFOs, once sceptical about technology, are now among its biggest supportersmore ..


'Nadella Effect' makes Ballmer $2.8bn richer

And since Thursday's downsizing, CEO Satya Nadella has an extra $1.3M in his portfoliomore ..

Credit Suisse ramps up IT overhaul to cut costs

Consolidating and simplifying IT networksmore ..

Nationwide customers suffer second online banking outage

Overrunning maintenance blamedmore ..

What does your perfect datacentre look like?

The financial impact of rising energy bills is a headache for companies toomore ..

What UK business needs to do now with big data

In the final of a three-part series, we look at the potential for companies to become victims in the battle for big datamore ..

Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:


PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.



In Depth
Can finance rise to the challenge of major transformation?

Can finance rise to the challenge of major transformation?

Outdated finance processes, systems and competencies leave too many questions unanswered more ..

In Depth
Interim CFO or consultant? The pros and cons

Interim CFO or consultant? The pros and cons

Ed Harding offers an insight into the life of an interim CFO and the advantages in driving transformation more ..

Advertisement

* *