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Ofcom gives UK 4G an early launch



/ 4 years ago

The British telecommunications regulator Ofcom has given “Everything Everywhere” (the company behind T-Mobile and Orange in the UK) permission to launch 4G services for the UK early.

4G hadn’t been planned for such an early launch, but Ofcom stated that the benefits to be gained by consumers outweigh any competition concerns from the fact only Everything Everywhere can currently provide 4G. Ofcom plans to auction 4G bandwidth to other providers next year, but Everything Everywhere will be able to operate from September 11th 2012.

Ofcom said delaying the mobile operator from launching 4G would be “to the detriment of consumers” whilst Vodafone and O2 expressed surprise and disappointment at the decision. Ultimately Ofcom wants to see at least four major 4G service providers to provide enough competition to allow for a high quality of service at competitive prices. Yet the significant head start that Everything Everywhere are getting means that other providers will be playing constant catch up for the foreseeable future:

“Everything [Everywhere] now has a golden opportunity to establish an early lead in the UK’s 4G market, but it will only be able to exploit this window if it is able to build a successful launch strategy,” said Thomas Wehmeier at Informa Telecoms & Media.

Everything Everywhere has also announced that it will sell some of its 4G spectrum to rival Three. This was a condition of the European Commission allowing the 2010 merger of Orange and T-Mobile in the UK.

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