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Everything Everywhere pushes for faster 4G rollout
30 April 2012
But possible court actions could delay 4G further
It's not just us, the consumers, that want to see 4G hitting the UK as soon as possible. The networks are desperate too. In fact, two of the networks have launched a campaign to speed things along.
Those networks are Orange and T-Mobile, which operate under the Everything Everywhere banner. According to a document seen by the BBC, anyone joining the campaign (networks, business leaders or consumer champions) will be seen as an 'equal partner'. It went on: 'This is a call for attention to be brought to this issue, to stop battling in the background and let us catch up with the other 34 countries that have already launched 4G services.'
Everything Everwhere CEO Olaf Swantee added: 'The UK had struck me as a place where mobile technology is deployed first and yet the infrastructure is behind Germany, Scandinavia and the US. I want to do something about this issue.'
As we mentioned back in February, Everything Everwhere has asked Ofcom for permission to convert some of its existing 1800MHz spectrum to 4G, a proposal Ofcom is considering.
However, other networks are less keen on this idea, with Vodafone threatening legal action if one firm gets a head start in the market. On top of this, both O2 and Vodafone have threatened to take Ofcom to court if the proposed 4G auction goes ahead in its present form. They are unhappy that it has set aside a portion of the spectrum for Three to boost competition.
In light of all of this, Ofcom has issued a statement that effectively points the finger at networks for the delay: 'Delays have been caused by legal challenges and threats of future litigation from various companies as they seek to defend their own commercial positions. While we recognise the need for companies to protect the interests of their shareholders, our role is to promote the interests of consumers.'
So there's a chance that 4G could come this year, but there's also a chance that legal action could knock it back even further. Let's hope common sense prevails and we get the kind of mobile speeds that other countries just take for granted – without waiting two or three years.
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