Today Ofcom has announced that Everything Everywhere (Orange and T Mobile) can start using part of their mobile network to deliver 4G services from September. 4G will revolutionise how we access the internet and if we can ensure rural areas area well catered for, it will give rural broadband users a real alternative to fixed line broadband. We have long campaigned for 4G roll out – but we are concerned that early liberalisation of the spectrum will not do anything for delivery – we need competitive roll out of 4G if the current problems of high prices and poor service in rural areas are to be overcome.
The Countryside Alliance continues to make the case to the Government that if rural economies are to grow, then this needs to be matched by a proper commitment and delivery of mobile and broadband communications in the countryside sooner rather than later.
22nd August 2012: Ofcom has approved an application by the mobile phone operator Everything Everywhere (EE) to use its existing 1800 MHz spectrum to deliver 4G services.
Following a consultation, Ofcom has concluded that varying EE’s 1800 MHz licences now will deliver significant benefits to consumers, and that there is no material risk that those benefits will be outweighed by a distortion of competition. Delaying doing so would therefore be to the detriment of consumers.
The decision takes account of the forthcoming release of additional spectrum in the 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz bands, in an auction process set to begin later this year, which will enable other operators to launch competing 4G services from next year.
In parallel with this decision, Ofcom has now issued varied licences to EE which authorise LTE services from 11 September 2012. This means that EE can launch LTE services using its 1800 MHz spectrum at any point from that date, although the precise timing of any launch is a commercial decision for Everything Everywhere.
What is 4G and why do we need it?
4G LTE is the next generation of fast, mobile internet, with huge potential benefits to society and the economy. 4G is critical to the future success of the UK. We all rely on the internet. We use it to run our lives, our organisations and our businesses. Every day we all use the internet to reach millions of people across the country, to bring them critical services, and help them buy, sell, inform, entertain and connect with each other.
4G will let people do more with their smartphones and tablets more quickly. It will support improved mobile services, productivity, and commerce, and ensure that many of the latest mobile devices work here in Britain. It will drive economic growth and create jobs, and unlock billions of pounds of private investment in the economy. It will also help improve broadband access in rural areas to further close the ‘digital divide’.
If you want to find out more about 4G and what it could mean for your life, your business and Britain, have a look at www.4GBritain.org, which the Countryside Alliance supports, or watch the videos below.