News by Andrew Kameka on Tuesday August 21, 2012.
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British telecommunications regulator Ofcom has approved Everything Everywhere's request to launch a 4G network in the UK this year. Despite complaints from rival networks that the decision would give Everything Everywhere an unfair advantage, Ofcom has authorized the joint venture by Orange and T-Mobile to use its 1800 MHz spectrum to deploy LTE or WiMAX beginning September 11.
Everything Everywhere is the only carrier approved to deliver 4G services in the UK, and Sky News reports that the company will move quickly to take advantage of its lead by launching a 4G network as early as October. Competitors will lag far behind because they cannot launch 4G until Ofcom holds an auction of the 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz bands in 2013. Allowing EE to use its existing spectrum for 4G will give the joint venture a competitive advantage for several months.
Ofcom said that it considered the advantage that its decision would give Everything Everywhere, but ultimately decided that consumer benefits were of a higher priority. The regulator said in a statement:
Although we consider it likely that EE will enjoy a competitive advantage during the period before other operators are able to launch their own LTE services, we consider on the evidence available that any such advantage is unlikely to result in an enduring advantage which distorts competition to the detriment of consumers...In light of this assessment, and for the reasons explained in more detail in this decision, we consider that it is in the interests of consumers for us to vary EE's licences now, in accordance with EE's request. We have therefore today issued EE with varied 1800 MHz licences with the provisions authorising LTE and WiMAX coming into force on 11 September 2012.
Vodafone issued a scathing statement claiming that Ofcom's decision shows "a careless disregard" for the best interests of consumers and businesses. The carrier once again urged Ofcom to carry out an auction that will allow other operators to launch 4G networks in the UK.source: Ofcom, via: Engadget
Andrew is MobileBurn.com's managing editor. He is based in Miami, Florida.