Everything Everywhere sets the pace for 4G

14 March 2012 | Kavit Majithia

An ambitious proposal by Everything Everywhere to reuse its existing spectrum to deliver 4G services in the UK as early as this year has been welcomed by Ofcom.

Ofcom, the UK telecoms watchdog, stated it had received an application by Everything Everywhere to deliver 4G, and “given the benefits this would bring to the consumer, Ofcom is minded to allow this change of use”, the regulator said in a statement. Ofcom stated it had taken into account the risk of distorting competition, and welcomed interested parties to submit views on the proposed changes.

4G services, which have been launched in many areas across Europe, the US and Asia are “likely to bring material benefits to consumers, including faster mobile broadband speeds and – depending on how Everything Everywhere uses the spectrum – potentially wider mobile broadband coverage in rural areas”, according to the regulator.

PCCW, through its UK subsidiary UK Broadband, revealed similar plans for 4G broadband roll-out after acquiring spectrum in the 3.5GHz and 3.6GHz bands, and was expected by many to unveil 4G LTE services first in the country.

Until now, none of the major UK mobile players had released planned launches for 4G, but it appears Everything Everywhere, the joint entity between Orange and T-Mobile, will make 4G services available across mobile Wifi units first, with planned trials in the 1800MHz band scheduled for April 2012.

The UK’s 4G spectrum auction is due to take place at the end of the year, and could raise over £2 billion for the government, with Everything Everywhere still expected to participate.

Olaf Swantee, CEO of Everything Everywhere, believes it is the company’s duty to herald 4G LTE in the UK, given its standing as the country’s largest network operator. “Everything Everywhere will be in a position to bring the roll-out of 4G before the end of the year,” he said. “There is a great opportunity for the UK to have the 21st century network it so deserves, putting the nation on a level playing field with other parts of Europe, the US and Asia.