Ofcom controversially grants Everything Everywhere early access to 4G in the UK

Alex Masters

Untitled 1hpi copy 300x220 Ofcom controversially grants Everything Everywhere early access to 4G in the UKIn a controversial move this morning, UK independent regulator Ofcom have granted Everything Everywhere permission to use its 1800 MHz spectrum to deliver 4G internet services to its customers from 11 Septemberonwards, despite competitors opposing the changes on the grounds that it gives the market’s largest player an unfair advantage.

Everything Everywhere Limited represents the partnership between Orange and T-Mobile here in the UK, which means both of these networks will have early access to 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution), leaving the likes of Three, Vodafone and O2 trailing behind, as they wait for additional 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz spectrum auctions to open later this year.

Naturally this early access will give both Orange and T-Mobile a considerable head start in the race to roll out 4G services across the country, not exactly the even playing field you’d expect an independent competition authority like Ofcom to provide.

As you’d expect, Everything Everywhere is delighted with the news, stating the following on its official website:

“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.”

Despite Ofcom stating that the benefits of Everything Everywhere’s early access to 4G will not be outweighed by a “distortion of competition”, it’s obvious that it will have an effect on which network operator consumers choose when taking 4G internet access into consideration. Simply due to the fact that only 2 of the 5 major networks will have 4G services up and running before 2013.

It could take several months before Three, Vodafone and O2 finally get the spectrum they need to roll out 4G LTE services on their respective networks. None of these networks can provide accurate time frames for when they’ll be able to offer 4G internet access to mobile customers. We’ll just have to sit tight and wait for further announcements in the coming weeks.

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  • Adam Hirshfield

    Great piece of Jounalism, except just one minor thing; Mr. Moat – the mighty moustached man pictured in your article – ‘left’ as CFO for the company exactly a year ago…

  • Stephen Page

    The entire process stinks, why are Ofcom favouring a German/French state-owned company created with the express intention of destroying Vodafone? Utter insanity!

  • Jonathan Jordan

    Dear French and German taxpayers,

    Thank you for backing a company, which had the foresight to invest early in the UK 4G market, and as a result, UK consumers and businesses will be some of the first to benefit from the latest phase in telecommunications. Without your support, I’m sure we would be waiting at least another year (previous rollout estimates from the other networks were 2013 – 2016).

    As for Vodafone, I hope that their shareholders spend their time interrogating the C-Suite about why they aren’t in a similar position to roll out this technology in their own backyard, instead of complaining about “fairness” to Ofcom.


  • dansus

    They have the 1800mhz lying around doing nowt, why not make use of it. Sour grapes.

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