4G finally coming to UK this September?

22/08/2012

High speed mobile internet is coming to the UK next month, after network Everything Everywhere was given the go-ahead to roll out 4G technology across the country. Everything Everywhere, the parent company of Orange and T-Mobile, has been allowed to launch the next generation mobile network anytime after September this year. Following months of consultation, Ofcom today announced its decision to allow Everything Everywhere to use the 1800MHz spectrum for LTE (4G).

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In order to be able to access 4G, a phone needs to have a compatible antenna and 4G capability.

A spokesman for Everything Everywhere said: “Ofcom's decision to make 4G available this year is great news for the UK. Consumers will soon be able to benefit from the much greater mobile speeds that 4G will deliver. 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.”
"It is fantastic news that after over two years of unnecessary delays caused by the Conservative-led government 4G is finally on its way to the UK," said Helen Goodman, shadow media minister.

"I am sure Ofcom's decision will be warmly welcomed by consumers and also businesses, who know the potential economic benefits 4G will bring in these tough economic times."
According to industry body GSMA, 30 countries already have operational 4G networks, including Estonia, Angola and Kyrgyzstan.

In the UK 2G is used to make voice calls and send text messages, 3G is used for using for data, such as surfing the internet or checking Facebook. 4G (or LTE, which is Long Term Evolution), will dramatically improve download speeds.

Everything Everywhere states that 4G is 5-7 times faster than 3G (up to 160Mbs in fact) and that by the end of the decade we'll be able to download an album in 60 seconds, or a full movie in 10 minutes.

Confusingly 4G in the US and 4G in the UK use different spectrums. In the US 700/800 and 1799/1900 Mhz bands are used, in the UK and 800, 2600 and 1800 MHz (which EE has been awarded) are used.

The new iPad is compatible with 4G bands in the US, but not in the UK, hence why Apple had had to change the name from WiFi+4G. Read more about the new iPad and confusion surrounding 4G here.

Vodaphone and 02 will have to wait until the upcoming 4G spectrum auction next year to launch their own services. That process is expected to see £4.5 billion contributed to the public purse.

According to The Verge Vodafone states: "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."

A Three spokesperson said: "Liberalisation of 2G spectrum to date has distorted the competitive landscape in the UK, which ultimately harms consumers. Further liberalisation without addressing competition issues could make that distortion worse."

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