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O2 and Vodafone get nod from Ofcom for early 4G rollout

EE could launch 4G services within weeks
Tue Oct 02 2012, 21:29
Mobile spectrum antenna

UK MOBILE OPERATORS O2 and Vodafone have been given the green light to launch 4G services in the first half of 2013 as the networks' peace talks concluded with a happy ending.

Ofcom on Tuesday announced that it has brought forward the much argued spectrum auction with bidding now set to start towards the end of this year.

This announcement means that O2 and Vodafone will be able to launch 4G services before Summer 2013, while EE, Orange and T-Mobile's joint venture, has been told it can launch 4G services this year as planned.

Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said, "The actions we have taken with industry and government avoids the risk of significant delay and is tremendous news for consumers who might otherwise have waited a considerable period for the next generation of mobile broadband services.

"Ofcom's objective has always been to release the spectrum as early as possible and we remain focused on starting the auction by the end of the year."

Now that O2 and Vodafone have finally reached an agreement and don't plan to oppose EE's head start, the network is likely to launch 4G in the UK within the next few weeks. EE had previously announced plans to offer 4G services on its existing 1800MHz spectrum in 16 UK cities before the end of the year, before rolling it out to 98 percent of the population by 2015.

Today's news means that Brits can expect to see the first 4G price plans and handsets, which include the Iphone 5, Samsung Galaxy S3 and HTC One XL, arriving within weeks.

Three has also confirmed to The INQUIRER that it will be launching 4G services next year, after it bought some of EE's 4G spectrum in August. µ


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