PCCW to deploy high-speed mobile network in UK

17 August 2011 |


Hong Kong-based telecoms operator PCCW is to build a high-speed mobile network in the UK to be operational as early as 2012.

With this network, market watchers predict PCCW could construct the UK’s first LTE network-based infrastructure and trump UK providers in the race to 4G. The UK’s four main domestic providers, O2, Vodafone, Orange/T-Mobile and 3 have yet to announce any definite plans for 4G networks or LTE-based infrastructure.

According to the Financial Times, PCCW has not yet secured any deals with vendors in the region to produce handsets that can accommodate the level of radio spectrum the company holds. PCCW’s UK subsidiary UK Broadband is also reportedly working on a wholesale model to supply its proposed network to numerous MVNOs, including Virgin Media, to access more capacity and supply it to end users requiring additional bandwidth. Virgin Media declined to comment on the rumours.

Ovum principal analyst Steven Hartley is sceptical of the future business plan following this announcement and questions whether a fixed wireless access solution, in favour of a mobile solution, would be a more logical approach for UK Broadband to take. “Yes, the company might be first in this space, but considering the amount of spectrum it owns there is not going to be a great deal of coverage per base station,” he said. “There are going to be high costs for blanket coverage and UK Broadband will need to sign a wholesale deal to provide a mobile service which makes the proposition appear less attractive.”

UK Broadband presently owns spectrum at the 3.5GHz and 3.6GHz bandwidths, and would initially cater its network for urban areas in the region to supply high-speed broadband services to businesses and consumers. “Across Europe there are going to be more devices at the 800MHz and 2.6GHz range being used for LTE,” said Hartley.