Last month OFCOM approved Everything Everywhere's (EE) proposal to launch 4G LTE in the UK before the auctions take place at the start of next year. This was made possible by allowing the operator to use some of its exisiting 1800MHz spectrum to provide 4G in the UK.
Since then EE have confirmed a whole host of smartphones will support 4G LTE on their network including the iPhone 5 and the Galaxy SIII LTE. It's no secret that both O2 and Vodafone have been very unhappy with the decision and have even been threatening legal action.
The problem for all the other operators is they don't have spare spectrum to use and therefore have to wait until after the 4G auctions to launch 4G LTE in the UK. However, that wasn't the only thing they were waiting for because they also need to wait for TV broadcasters to release some spectrum to be used to provide 4G LTE.
The good news is that OFCOM, the TV broadcasters, the government and the mobile operators have come together and agreed to bring forward the launch of 4G LTE in the UK. The auction will still take place at the start of 2013, but the release of spectrum by TV broadcasters has been brought forward significantly by speeding up the clearance by 5 months.
Hopefully, that means we should see 4G LTE being offered in the first half of 2013 by Vodafone, O2 and Three. The new agreement has been enough to convince O2 and Vodafone to drop their legal actions, so they are obviously happy with the new deal.
By Simon Thomas on 03rd October, 2012