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Everything Everywhere warns UK is trailing on 4G

Friday, April 13th 2012
Many countries are ahead of the UK on 4G mobile broadband rollouts, according to Everything Everywhere.
Everything Everywhere warns UK is trailing on 4G
The UK is trailing behind many of its European and global counterparts with its plans for 4G mobile broadband technology, Everything Everywhere has warned.

Many nations are already rolling out 4G infrastructure, but these services are not set to be available in Britain until additional spectrum to support the technology is sold off at auction.

Ofcom, which has been tasked with leading the sale, has promised that it will get underway before the end of the year, but it is widely expected to drag into 2013.

Former government adviser Kip Meek, who now works for network operator Everything Everywhere, said Britain is no longer a global power with regards to broadband connectivity.

"We are lagging behind the US and many other parts of Europe, whereas the UK used to be leading the world," he told the Financial Times.

The rollout of 4G mobile broadband in the UK has been subject to several delays and the process has been further complicated by Everything Everywhere's plan to roll out the technology ahead of the auction by re-using some of its existing spectrum.

Ofcom gave its backing to the plan, but rival network operators O2 and Vodafone have been critical of the move, accusing Everything Everywhere of attempting to gain an unfair head start by bringing 4G services to market first.

In considering the proposals, Ofcom claimed they would bring material benefits to customers in the form of faster mobile broadband speeds and - potentially - improved coverage in rural areas.

The regulator explained: "Ofcom has considered whether allowing Everything Everywhere to use this spectrum in this way would distort competition and provisionally concluded that it would not."

Mobile carriers were awarded varying amounts of 900MHz and 1,800MHz spectrum in the 1990s on the basis that it could only be used for voice calls and SMS messages, although this remit was expanded to include 3G services last year.

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