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Ofcom offers to accelerate 4G auction to avoid lawsuits and speed up 4G launches in UK

News by Andrew Kameka on Tuesday October 02, 2012.

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UK regulator Ofcom and Culture Secretary Maria Miller will discuss plans to move up the long-delayed auction of radio spectrum necessary for the launch of more 4G networks in Great Britain. Operators O2 and Vodafone are anxious to get the auction underway after Ofcom gave rival EE permission to launch 4G services on its existing 2G spectrum that has been refarmed for faster LTE service. That will give EE time to introduce 4G months ahead of the competition, putting other operators at a serious disadvantage.

A new plan suggests that regulators could hold the auction two weeks earlier and then accelerate the process for turning over spectrum to auction winners. That could reduce the amount of time necessary to prepare networks for the next generation data speeds. Ofcom's faster pace could allow O2 or Vodafone to deliver 4G service as early as May 2013 rather than the estimated October 2013 launch under the current schedule. It would still put both companies considerably behind EE, which says it will deliver LTE in 16 cities in December.

Regulators hope this faster pace will also encourage EE's rivals to abandon thoughts of filing lawsuits to block the launch of EE's LTE network. O2 and Vodafone have been vocal in their opposition to EE being allowed to launch a 4G network almost a year ahead of them, but Ofcom has argued that is in the best interest of consumers.

source: Telegraph

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Andrew Kameka
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.

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