4G LTE will launch in UK this year

While mobile operators in the US continue to carpet the nation with 4G LTE coverage, most of us on the other side of the Atlantic can only watch in envy. Few parts of Europe have been touched by 4G so far, and as with many of its neighbours, the availability of 4G services in the United Kingdom has so far failed to extend beyond a few limited trials.

But good things come to those who wait – and our British readers now won’t have too long to wait before they can get their fix of 4G goodness. Everything Everywhere – the joint venture company co-owned by France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom, which owns the Orange UK and T-Mobile UK networks – has confirmed that it plans to launch 4G to paying customers later this year.

Everything Everywhere is already running an LTE trial which in Cornwall, which will come to a close in July; the trial is operating on the 800MHz band, which is apparently well suited to the rural county. A second trial will begin in Bristol in a few weeks, on the 1800MHz band, which should perform more capably in the busier urban and suburban environment of that trial.

According to The Guardian, Everything Everywhere has submitted a special application to the UK's telecommunications regulator, Ofcom, requesting that it be allowed to convert some of its spare existing 3G 1800MHz spectrum to 4G, so that it can launch commercial services ahead of the full 4G spectrum auction next year. The operator's plans to launch are therefore subject to regulatory approval, which Everything Everywhere hopes will arrive by May. The company's CEO, Olaf Swantee, is enthusiastic about the plans: “Everything Everywhere’s vision is to launch 4G for Britain as soon as possible, and the rollout of 3.5G HSPA+ and our 4G trials across Britain are major steps towards delivering on that promise”.

Indeed, Everything Everywhere’s ‘Smart Signal Share’ programme, which enables T-Mobile UK and Orange UK users to roam between the two networks, has been progressing nicely. Originally launched for 2G voice roaming only, the network sharing initiative now covers all the bases up to 3.5G HSPA+, with 60% of users covered across the two brands. From mid-March, the final phase of the programme will begin, with the aim of all smartphones and dongles seamlessly switching between the strongest signal from either network.

Clearly, it will be sometime before the UK has anything close to full nationwide 4G LTE coverage – networks don’t build themselves overnight, you know – but it’s great to get some official confirmation that the first 4G offerings will finally launch in Britain this year.

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28 Comments

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Looks like I'll be stickin with Orange for a while... they always bring the next gen tech first... just waiting for Apple to recognise the need for HD Voice codec in the iPhones

We get it in april in Moscow. Not first in Russia though. Both Yota and MTS agreed to switch WiMAX frequencies for LTE. So both networks can't work together and switch should be done just over a night. Yota will switch from WiMAX to LTE at the night between april 14 and 15. MTS has already upgraded all Moscow to new Nokia Siemens base stations that support LTE Advance. Once they finish with province they will turn off WiMAX as well. Per agreement with communication ministry it should be done before september 1. Russia will utilize three bands for LTE. Both Yota and MTS utilizing 2,5-2,7 GHz band, but it set as universal in Russia. 0,8-0,9 GHz band also set as universal with LTE share. All LTE exclusive frequencies are 2,3-2,4 GHz. Good that Yota will change USB modems and Wi-Fi routers for free. Vympelcom said already upgraded network to LTE, but they have no LTE license and hardly will get it this year, as communication ministry postponed frequency auction.

England is always behind...... then again if it wasn't for the US, most of the tech we use today wouldnt be possible. (ie; Google, Microsoft, Apple, etc all were founded in the USA!)

CMG_90 said,
England is always behind...... then again if it wasn't for the US, most of the tech we use today wouldnt be possible. (ie; Google, Microsoft, Apple, etc all were founded in the USA!)

yet most of the world laughs at the USA saying how far behind we are... go figure... Verizon has been rolling out LTE for well over a year now and has a pretty good part of the country covered, AT&T is at it now also... Verizon I can get 20Mbit down and 15Mbit up over LTE with 35ms ping not too bad for wireless cell coverage

CMG_90 said,
England is always behind...... then again if it wasn't for the US, most of the tech we use today wouldnt be possible. (ie; Google, Microsoft, Apple, etc all were founded in the USA!)

Then again if it wasn't for america taking nazi scientists, the USA wouldn't be a superpower.

n_K said,

Then again if it wasn't for america taking nazi scientists, the USA wouldn't be a superpower.

Oh I see what's going on here. Somebody is ****ed because the US kicked England's A** over 200 years ago. Let it go.

Let's face it though, U.S. has better technology, better movies, better music. Everyone has to look at the U.S. with a bit of envy.

UndergroundWire said,

Oh I see what's going on here. Somebody is ****ed because the US kicked England's A** over 200 years ago. Let it go.

Let's face it though, U.S. has better technology, better movies, better music. Everyone has to look at the U.S. with a bit of envy.

My countries better than yours na na na na na na na.

Martin5000 said,

My countries better than yours na na na na na na na.

That's what these few posts have come down to. I figure, let me put all your minds at ease. IT IS THE U.S.

Meph said,

I was dying to say that, as well. XD Is it really that hard to call it 3.5G?

HSDPA is considered 3.5G though and LTE is much better than that

cralias said,
LTE is not 4G.

With exception of ITU, who de facto has the final say in this argument, and happens to say so.

This is blatantly false advertising and telcos should be sued out of their pants for doing so.

cralias said,

With exception of ITU, who de facto has the final say in this argument, and happens to say so.

This is blatantly false advertising and telcos should be sued out of their pants for doing so.

Go ahead. Waste your money please. Especially when the ITU had it's final say. But seriously, go ahead and sue them. Let us know how that goes please.

P.S. Do we have a stupid news section?

SHoTTa35 said,
They still make you?
The ITU already stated LTE qualifies as 4G, technically so does HSPA and HSPA+ (note the difference).

Guess who made them reverse the initial statement? Telcos universally ignored the statemnt (even though 4G is a trademark of ITU) and ITU for some reason caved in. So much for standards.
But they did reverse that statement (again).
If I may:
http://www.extremetech.com/mob...tes-lte-advanced-as-true-4g
Now LTE-Advanced, however, does fully comply IMT-Advanced and is therefore 4G.

UndergroundWire said,

Go ahead. Waste your money please. Especially when the ITU had it's final say. But seriously, go ahead and sue them. Let us know how that goes please.

P.S. Do we have a stupid news section?


Well, as long as you enjoy having your eyes and ears being sh*t shut, I won't make that move. Instead, I'll consider selling you a 5G phone...

hobsgrg said,

HSDPA is considered 3.5G though and LTE is much better than that

'Introducing, the newest edition to the iSpectrum lineup... The 3.5GS connectivity mode!'

cralias said,

Guess who made them reverse the initial statement? Telcos universally ignored the statemnt (even though 4G is a trademark of ITU) and ITU for some reason caved in. So much for standards.
But they did reverse that statement (again).
If I may:
http://www.extremetech.com/mob...tes-lte-advanced-as-true-4g
Now LTE-Advanced, however, does fully comply IMT-Advanced and is therefore 4G.


Well, as long as you enjoy having your eyes and ears being sh*t shut, I won't make that move. Instead, I'll consider selling you a 5G phone...

Don't be so hurt. The argument is getting too old. Ignorant people like to always point out that LTE is not 4G to seem somewhat intelligent but the case is they read a story once and never read the follow up.

hobsgrg said,

HSDPA is considered 3.5G though and LTE is much better than that

Oh, I see. In that, case, they'd be better calling it something like G3.9.

UndergroundWire said,

Don't be so hurt. The argument is getting too old. Ignorant people like to always point out that LTE is not 4G to seem somewhat intelligent but the case is they read a story once and never read the follow up.

http://www.itu.int/net/pressof...press_releases/2012/02.aspx
http://www.itu.int/net/newsroom/wrc/2012/
http://www.readwriteweb.com/mo...012/01/meet-the-real-4g.php
http://www.4gnetwork.com/itu-d...es-lte-advanced-is-true-4g/
Follow these links. In the end there will be a cake.

If there's any more recent "follow up" which again redefines 4G and which therefore I must care to read, please point me towards it and I'll happily do so. Otherwise, it's you who's being ignorant and also very vocal about it, I might add.

Apologies to Neowin for spamming links here.

cralias said,

http://www.itu.int/net/pressof...press_releases/2012/02.aspx
http://www.itu.int/net/newsroom/wrc/2012/
http://www.readwriteweb.com/mo...012/01/meet-the-real-4g.php
http://www.4gnetwork.com/itu-d...es-lte-advanced-is-true-4g/
Follow these links. In the end there will be a cake.

If there's any more recent "follow up" which again redefines 4G and which therefore I must care to read, please point me towards it and I'll happily do so. Otherwise, it's you who's being ignorant and also very vocal about it, I might add.

Apologies to Neowin for spamming links here.

Again, the ITU has said you can call it 4G LTE you just can't call it 4G. Calling something 4G is deceptive but calling something 4G LTE or WiMax 4G is acceptable. They never ratified that statement. The ITU only finalized what 4G (just by itself) is.

So bottom line naming something, 4G LTE = OK; WiMax 4G = OK, 4G = No Good if it doesn't adhere to the true 4G definition. End of story.

Why is this so difficult for people to understand? I understood perfectly fine since December 2010.

UndergroundWire said,

Again, the ITU has said you can call it 4G LTE you just can't call it 4G.

Self-contradictory statement is self-contradictory.

cralias said,

Self-contradictory statement is self-contradictory.

And yet this article is about 4G LTE. What the hell are you talking about now? Are you grasping anything I am saying to you? It's too bad people like you will never understand. Good day sir.

UndergroundWire said,

And yet this article is about 4G LTE. What the hell are you talking about now? Are you grasping anything I am saying to you? It's too bad people like you will never understand. Good day sir.

There cannot be any 4G LTE by definition. "4G" LTE cells do not provide even half of features that LTE-Advanced is supposed to. Just like one cannot put NASCAR and F1 in the same box, "4G" LTE cannot be 4G nor anything 4G related.

It's too bad that people like you will continue to be influenced by shameless selling-point advertising originating from carriers that came before any standards that a leap to next generation communications had occured just by increasing downstream speeds.

Good day sir. Your 5G will arrive soon.

cralias said,

There cannot be any 4G LTE by definition. "4G" LTE cells do not provide even half of features that LTE-Advanced is supposed to. Just like one cannot put NASCAR and F1 in the same box, "4G" LTE cannot be 4G nor anything 4G related.

It's too bad that people like you will continue to be influenced by shameless selling-point advertising originating from carriers that came before any standards that a leap to next generation communications had occured just by increasing downstream speeds.

Good day sir. Your 5G will arrive soon.

Again you clearly are not getting it AT ALL!!! Calling it 4G LTE is acceptable and within the guidelines of the ITU, PERIOD! Because the ITU did not make 4G a standard, LTE is considered 4G as long as it is called 4G LTE. So the name is right, the speed is a huge improvement over 3G, the latency is a huge improvement over 3G. Umm, am I missing something here? You ean it's better, it falls in the guidelines and the price is the same?

Of course I was sold on 4G LTE. I AM NOT STUPID LIKE "SOME" PEOPLE. You mean I can get download speeds of 34Mbps (actual) and upload speeds of 15Mbps (actual) and pay the same price I was paying for 3G and it's unlimited. Woh buddy, that's a lot of "ands" in my sentence. IT'S OBVIOUSLY A NO BRAINIER (Oh wait, I forgot, I am talking to you). Yes, if they come out with "5G" and offer better speeds for the same price; sign me up.

Good day to you and your slow connection since you said you are not influenced by so-called shameless selling points. I laugh at you and your lack of understanding. So please, give it a rest, as it appears your data connection is not the only thing operating on the slow lane.

http://speedtest.net/android/136290045.png