4G roll-out coming to UK spring 2013

The bickering has been smoothed over, and all looks set to go on the 4G front
Darren Allan

October 3, 2012
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The UK’s mobile networks, in a deal brokered by the government, have finally agreed on a 4G LTE roll-out plan which will begin next spring.

That’s a relief to many, as it wasn’t expected that LTE would go live – following the UK’s big spectrum auction – until later in 2013.

Of course, technically 4G LTE will go live very shortly, in a limited form, before the end of this year, when EE (Everything Everywhere’s 4G brand) deploys its existing 1800MHz spectrum – something that other networks weren’t happy about.

Although rival networks, it would seem, will now stop moaning about this, thanks to the carrot of LTE being made available to them for a spring 2013 roll-out (as opposed to an autumn one, as was previously shaping up).

Apparently the new Culture Secretary, Maria Miller (who recently took over from Jeremy Hunt) has wasted no time in sorting out the issue – and making Hunt look like a bit of a numpty (mind you, he’s been called worse).

This new schedule now means that other networks will get a chance to get in on the act with, say, the iPhone 5 and its fresh LTE support. Whereas they’d have effectively missed the boat if they’d have had to wait until autumn 2013 – when the iPhone 6 would be coming out.

Ofcom, of course, played its part in this negotiation, according to the Guardian, offering to faster clear the spectrum being taken from digital TV to use for 4G LTE broadband, and bring forward the 4G auction date.

Miller commented: “Delivering 4G quickly is a key part of our economic growth strategy. I am grateful to the mobile operators for their co-operation in bringing forward vital 4G services. The open and collaborative approach taken between the government and the mobile companies will have hugely beneficial results for UK business and investment. We anticipate that 4G services will boost the UK’s economy by around £2-3bn.”


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