UK operator Everything Everywhere, which operates the T-Mobile and Orange brands in the UK, has been cleared by regulator Ofcom to offer LTE services in its existing 1800MHz spectrum. Ofcom has ruled that the operator will be allowed to launch LTE at any point from September 11, 2012.
EE would not be drawn on the exact date it plans to launch its service, but a spokesperson told Telecoms.com that the operator is currently drawing up plans to launch in “certain key locations in the UK by the end of this year”.
Ofcom’s permitted launch date is well ahead of the earliest opportunity that the operator’s rivals will be able to launch their own 4G services. Vodafone, O2, 3UK and any new entrant to the market will not be able to bid for LTE spectrum until early 2013. They are expected to start rolling out 4G networks using the auctioned spectrum from the middle of 2013, and begin offering 4G services to consumers later that year.
According to Ofcom, allowing Everything Everywhere, to launch LTE will deliver significant benefits to consumers.
“There is no material risk that those benefits will be outweighed by a distortion of competition. Delaying doing so would therefore be to the detriment of consumer,” the regulator said in a statement.