Everything Everywhere to bring LTE to the UK by end of 2012

UK operator Everything Everywhere has announced plans to launch an LTE network in the UK by the end of 2012. The operator, a joint venture formed in 2010 between France Telecom’s Orange and Deutsche Telecom’s T-Mobile UK brands, said that it would have the network ready by the end of the year, subject to approval from UK regulator Ofcom.

“I am… very proud to announce that, subject to regulatory approval by the spring, Everything Everywhere will be in a position to begin the roll out of 4G before the end of the year,” Olaf Swantee, chief executive at Everything Everywhere, said in a statement. “There is a great opportunity for the UK to have the 21st Century network that it so deserves, putting the nation on a level playing field with other parts of Europe, the USA and Asia.”

The announcement is something of a surprise considering that the much delayed auction for the UK’s LTE spectrum is not scheduled to happen until Q4 and it was expected that live LTE networks would not come online until 2013 or even 2014.

However, to speed things up, Orange has put in a request to Ofcom to enable it to refarm its existing 1800MHz spectrum for LTE, rather than employ the 800Mhz/2.6GHz spectrum that will  be coming up for auction.

The regulator confirmed to that, “Ofcom has received an application from Everything Everywhere to vary its licence for 4G use. Ofcom is considering that application and once it arrives at a view it will consult with stakeholders.” As this process could take an additional 12 weeks and involves discussion with rivals, the end of the year date for a live launch could prove optimistic.

In a run up to the launch the operator said it would be running an LTE trial in Bristol using 1800MHz spectrum, in addition to its existing trial in Cornwall based on 800MHz spectrum.

As a fall back, Everything Everywhere also said that it would be completing its HSPA+ 21mbps upgrades by the end of Q3 2012, which it said would bring a 50 per cent increase in download speed and 100 per cent increase in upload speeds when used with compatible devices. The network’s users can also looks forward HSPA+ 42, with trials expected to begin in Q2 2012 and expected to be go live by the end of the year.

The LTE World Summit is taking place on the 23-24 May 2012 CCIB, Barcelona, Spain. Click here to register your interest.

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