Everything Everywhere plans 4G in 2012

Tired of seeing all those 4G phones which aren't available to us UK punters? Well, that could be about to change, with the Everything Everywhere network (Orange and T-Mobile) planning on pushing ahead with a superfast 4G network before the year is out.

OK, only one network, but it is the biggest, with 27 million subscribers, including Virgin Media and Three customers too. Everything Everywhere obviously hopes 4G will appeal to those (and new) customers, but it also wants 4G to keep the UK competitive when it comes to mobile communications.


'The UK has been ahead in this industry for many years and we need to get that back,' said Everything Everywhere CEO Olaf Swantee. 'As we are the largest in this market we believe it is our duty to lay the groundwork for a future digital Britain.'

The rollout in the UK has been slow. O2 has been trialling a network in London and more general tests have been taking place in Cornwall. The latter, as well as ongoing legal issues, have pushed back 4G in the UK, with a full national rollout now not scheduled until the end of 2013.

With that in mind, Everything Everywhere has asked Ofcom for permission to convert some of its existing 1800MHz spectrum, already used to carry voice calls, texts, and slower 3G internet connections, to 4G. That's possible after the merger of T-Mobile and Orange, which has meant spare capacity – enough for a limited service, which would initially work with dongles. Smartphones to follow? We would hope so. Presumably that depends on the capacity and the profit margins available from the service.

It would mean connections of between 8-20 megabits per second, which would shame your average home broadband connection. Whether you get to see that soon depends on Everything Everywhere's tests in Bristol from April and that Ofcom approval, which has to come through by April or May for a 2012 launch. More to come on this, that's for sure.

The Guardian

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