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UK Next Generation 4G Mobile Broadband Rollout Faces Delay to 2013

Posted: 08th May, 2010 By: MarkJ
mobile broadbandA telecoms analyst working for Ovum has warned that the rollout of future 4G ( LTE , WiMAX ) Mobile Broadband services in the UK could be delayed until 2013 because a new incoming government might be reluctant to deal with the situation for another year or more. This could potentially damage cross-party plans to make a minimum broadband speed of 2Mbps available to everybody in the country by 2012.

ericsson_hspa_to_lte_speed_chart.jpg

The concern centres around auctions for radio spectrum in the 800MHz (currently still used for old analogue TV signals) and 2.6GHz frequency bands. Plans to sell off the related frequency were effectively put on hold before the general election and may not be tackled again as a priority for awhile.

Ovum's analyst, Matthew Howlett, told ZDNet UK:

"Our view is that it will take at least a year to get around to resurrecting this [instrument] and to debate this in parliament. Only after that can an action process [of establishing the spectrum auctions] start, so adding 12-18 months onto what was planned takes us into 2013. If the directive had gone through [prior to the election], they had hoped to have the auctions in 2011.

We're a bit worried because elsewhere in Europe, things are moving more quickly. There are bigger things to deal with like the budget deficit. We're going to be left behind because of this problem."

Yesterday also saw the European Commission (EC) adopt a decision that harmonises the technical standards and allocation for 800Mhz (790-862MHz) radio spectrum (here), which was one of the final hurdles prior to any auctions taking place among member states. It now remains to be seen how much impetus the related bands will get.
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