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Ofcom gives provisional green light to 4G plans

Tuesday, March 13th 2012
4G mobile networks could be rolled out across the UK by the end of the year, according to communications regulator Ofcom.
Ofcom gives provisional green light to 4G plans
Mobile 4G broadband could be rolled out across the UK by the end of the year, after communications regulator Ofcom provisionally accepted plans from internet service provider Everything Everywhere to make use of spectrum to implement a 4G network for mobiles.

The regulator ruled in 2011 that 2G spectrum could be used for 3G as part of its attempts to liberalise spectrum use and increase competition and broadband take up across the UK.

It is now proposing that 4G can also be used, given the growing demand caused by the increasing popularity of smartphones and laptops.

The mobile phone operator Everything Everywhere has submitted an application to Ofcom to use its existing spectrum to deliver 4G services, something which the regulatory body feels would offer benefits to consumers, such as faster mobile broadband speeds.

Furthermore, depending on how Everything Everywhere chooses to utilise the spectrum, it could offer benefits to rural communities with limited broadband access by making it easier for them to utilise next-generation internet speeds without the installation of fibre optic cable.

Ofcom said it had considered whether or not allowing the internet service provider to use its spectrum allowance in this way would distort competition in the sector and has provisionally concluded that it would not, making it "minded to allow this change of use".

The UK has been required to consider liberalising its broadband spectrum at 900 Mhz and 1800 Mhz since a revised decision from the European Commission obliged it to do so.

Last month, Everything Everywhere announced that it had taken major steps towards implementing a 4G network for its customers through further nationwide trials of the technology.

Chief executive officer Olaf Swantee said: "There is a great opportunity for the UK to have the 21st century network that it so deserves, putting the nation on a level playing field with other parts of Europe, the USA and Asia."

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