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Everything Everywhere to be first incumbent to launch UK LTE

Everything Everywhere gets approval to launch LTE services from September 2012

Everything Everywhere will be in a position to offer LTE service in the UK ahead of its competitors if regulator Ofcom’s new proposals get the go-ahead.

The operator, formed by the merger in the UK between T-Mobile and Orange, could offer 4G mobile services in the UK by the end of 2012, after Ofcom accepted an application to use its existing spectrum to deliver LTE services.

Meanwhile, Vodafone, O2 and 3UK will have to wait until Ofcom’s 4G auction in order to gain the spectrum necessary to roll out its LTE services. The first stages of the auction are on course to begin “by the end of 2012”, a spokesperson from the regulator told Telecoms.com.

According to Ofcom: “Allowing Everything Everywhere to reuse its spectrum in this way is 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.”

The regulator added that it had considered whether allowing Everything Everywhere to use this spectrum in this way would distort competition, and has concluded that it would not. It said that it would allow this change of use of spectrum, given the benefits this would bring to consumers.

Interested parties have four weeks in which to submit their views on the proposed change.

Orange had put in a request to Ofcom to enable it to refarm its existing 1800MHz spectrum for LTE earlier this year, rather than employ the 800Mhz/2.6GHz spectrum that willbe coming up for auction.

But market newcomer UK Broadband may yet beat Everything Everywhere to launch. The wholesale player, which is a subsidiary of Hong Kong’s PCCW and is using kit supplied by Huawei, said earlier this month that it would launch service in May this year.


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