Everything Everywhere gets OK to launch 4G in UK next month

While the United States sees dozens of new cities getting upgraded to 4G networks each month, on the other side of the Atlantic, things are proceeding at a more glacial pace. In the United Kingdom, for example, the auction of 4G licences on the 800MHz and 2600MHz bands to network operators still hasn’t taken place, and has been pushed back until next year.

While UK operators have been engaged in small-scale 4G trials for the last 18 months or so, the lethargic pace of progress on the licensing and deployment of 4G networks has been a source of irritation for the carriers. Not all have been content to sit around complaining though. Earlier this year, Everything Everywhere – the joint venture between Orange UK and T-Mobile UK – formally applied to the communications regulator, Ofcom, to convert some of its existing 1800MHz spectrum to provide 4G services this year.

As The Next Web reports, Ofcom has now approved that application, meaning that Everything Everywhere will be able to launch 4G LTE services in the UK before the end of the year. In a statement, the company unsurprisingly hailed Ofcom’s decision, claiming that “4G will drive investment, employment and innovation and we look forward to making it available later this year, delivering superfast mobile broadband to the UK”.

But not everyone is celebrating. The Verge reported Vodafone’s rather angry response to the news:

We are frankly shocked that Ofcom has reached this decision. The regulator has shown a careless disregard for the best interests of consumers, businesses and the wider economy through its refusal to properly regard the competitive distortion created by allowing one operator to run services before the ground has been laid for a fully competitive 4G market.”

O2 also weighed in with this statement:

We are hugely disappointed with today’s announcement, which will mean the majority of customers will be excluded from the first wave of digital services. This decision undermines the competitive environment for 4G in the UK.”

Ofcom’s approval gives Everything Everywhere the freedom to use some of its 1800MHz spectrum for 4G services from September 11 this year – fortuitous timing, given that Apple is widely expected to announce its new 4G LTE-capable iPhone on the very next day.


Primary source: The Next Web  |  Image via Everything Everywhere

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18 Comments

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Not interested in faster mobile speeds.. just give me better, more consistent coverage, and live up to your "Everything Everywhere" branding, not just "Something Somewhere" or "Nothing Somewhere".

Pah Everything Everywhere - Nothing Anywhere, in high coverage areas their data speeds are **** poor I expect this to be just as bad as it will be run by them. Couple it with their total disregard for existing customers and terrible support this is the worst decision.

We are hugely disappointed with today's announcement, which will mean the majority of customers will be excluded from the first wave of digital services.

I agree, however the exclusion will be Everything Everywhere's customers as they will **** this right up
oh I forgot their network crumbles at the slightest touch as well, at every major event I've been too since their merger whatever phone I owned at the time has had no data or phone coverage as their network just can't handle it.
Give 4G to everyone instead of some bumbling crappy provider

O2, Vodafone - stop moaning. You weren't complaining when Ofcom gave you permission to offer 3G services over your 900MHz band, which undeniably gives much better coverage!

And the US frequencies are incompatible with the UK ones. It's my understanding that the UK ones will match the same in Europe, and most of the world too.

Yeah because it's REAL 4G isn't it. Isn't it time the ITU stepped in and ended this branding of what essentially is 3.5G+ as 4G?

When we see 1Gb/s service, then and only then can it be termed 4g.

For what it's worth I think Orange is one of the most instantly recognisable brands in the UK, whoever the marketing bod who came up with this new name is a fool

Umm last time I checked the ITU was the one that changed the original 1Gbps link speed to 10Mbps+ being 4G speeds. The reasons being we wont be seeing 1Gbps link speeds for probably 10yrs which would then stagnate the market.

So HSDPA 7.2 and lower is 3G while HSPA 14.4 and up (including HSPA+ 21Mbps and HSDPA-DC at 44Mbps) IS 4G as definied by the ITU.

These are also theoretical and link speeds obviously. AT&T could roll out "1Gbps" tomorrow and you only get 11Mbps and they could say "yeah we have "real 4G" and you'd still be ****ing. Your phone can't also handle 1Gbps anyways! Hell, most average PCs can't handle data that fast!

Just in time for windows phone 8 and the new chipsets then, might have to take the plunge and buy out my contract with orange if this comes to fruition near the end of the year

jamieakers said,
Wonder how much they paid OFCOM for this ruling?

Actually it's the other carriers fault for holding back and making the most of their 3G investments. The UK was falling behind because they deliberatly put on the brakes so OFCOM just went ahead which is fair enough I think.

Anyone know if the 4G LTE being used by Everything Everywhere is compatible with any of the 4G LTE radios used in the U.S. It is my understanding that a 4G LTE device on Verizon will not work on AT&T and the 4G LTE used in Australia will not work with those in the U.S. (thus Apple got sued down under for advertising 4G when it doesn't work there)

Asmodai said,
Anyone know if the 4G LTE being used by Everything Everywhere is compatible with any of the 4G LTE radios used in the U.S. It is my understanding that a 4G LTE device on Verizon will not work on AT&T and the 4G LTE used in Australia will not work with those in the U.S. (thus Apple got sued down under for advertising 4G when it doesn't work there)

It was my understanding that some use LTE and others use a different tech - not that they use different flavours of LTE but I maybe wrong.

Asmodai said,
Anyone know if the 4G LTE being used by Everything Everywhere is compatible with any of the 4G LTE radios used in the U.S. It is my understanding that a 4G LTE device on Verizon will not work on AT&T and the 4G LTE used in Australia will not work with those in the U.S. (thus Apple got sued down under for advertising 4G when it doesn't work there)

The US Frequency band is 800Mhz to 2100Mhz, This UK network will be 800Mhz to 2600Mhz, not sure.

Asmodai said,
Anyone know if the 4G LTE being used by Everything Everywhere is compatible with any of the 4G LTE radios used in the U.S.

No. The US uses 700MHz and 2100MHz bands for LTE deployment, while most of the other countries are, or will be, using 1800MHz. Everything Everywhere will be using the latter, therefore their LTE offerings will not be compatible with most US LTE-capable smartphones. Additionally, I think that there are relatively few smartphones built specifically for European LTE as of yet. What's worse is that Vodafone, O2 and Three will be using completely different bands within the UK - 800MHz and 2600MHz, so smartphones will need to be LTE tri-band just to support the UK properly.

While I do remember reading about new LTE radios being capable of roaming across these aforementioned frequencies, I've not heard of any phone utilising such multi-band technology so far. Once LTE becomes more common in the rest of the world, we'll definitely start seeing smartphones going tri-/quad-/penta-band, instead of having separate models for the European and US market. This may even occur as early as this year as this 4G launch from Everything Everywhere potentially coincides with a bunch of new smartphones being released, such as ones from the iPhone and Lumia ranges.

Edited by Manish, Aug 21 2012, 4:10pm :

McKay said,

The US Frequency band is 800Mhz to 2100Mhz, This UK network will be 800Mhz to 2600Mhz, not sure.


Incorrect. The US LTE bands are 700MHz and 2100MHz. Also, they don't occupy all the frequencies between those two bands. Massive difference. The UK will be using 800MHz, 1800MHz and 2600MHz.