In a move which has surprised many industry commentators – and certainly rival networks – Ofcom has approved Everything Everywhere’s (EE) request to begin rolling out its 4G LTE service before the year is out.
EE can do so before the 4G auction because it already has existing 1800MHz spectrum it can employ for super-fast mobile broadband.
This has been a point of much bickering between the networks, with rivals saying that allowing EE to go ahead well before the auction will unfairly unbalance the mobile operator marketplace. Other networks won’t be rolling out their 4G services until later in 2013.
EE, on the other hand, accused rivals of impeding the progress of mobile broadband in the UK, and the firm has got its way.
Ofcom has given the green light for EE to begin its 4G push any time after September 11th, and it seems likely the EE will go live with 4G in October. That will probably lead to a considerable influx of customers with LTE capable handsets before too long.
According to Sky News, Vodafone issued a very unhappy statement to say: “The regulator [Ofcom] has shown a careless disregard for the best interests of consumers, businesses and the wider economy through its refusal to properly regard the competitive distortion created by allowing one operator to run services before the ground has been laid for a fully competitive 4G market.”
Furthermore, it seems that EE will be re-branding with a name to advertise and make the most of its 4G capabilities – and further down the line, the Orange and T-Mobile brands will be dissolved.
The company wouldn’t confirm that rumour, however, and said it was pure speculation.