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Brocade UK Claims 4G Mobile Broadband Auction Delay is a Blessing in Disguise

Posted: 20th Feb, 2012 By: MarkJ
uk lte 4g ofcom mobile broadbandGlobal networking solutions provider, Brocade, has suggested that Ofcom's recent move to the delay the auction of 800MHz and 2.6GHz radio spectrum, which will be used to help support the next generation of 4G superfast Mobile Broadband services, could be a "blessing in disguise" because it will allow more time for the UK's "unprepared network infrastructure" to be upgraded.

The communications regulator now intends to hold its auction in Q4-2012 instead of Q1-2012, although Ofcom remains optimistic that the delay won't "have a material impact on the timeline for the availability of new services to consumers". The first commercial 4G services have always been expected to surface towards the end of 2013 or early 2014.

Marcus Jewell, Brocade UK's Country Manager, said:

"With 4G rollout scheduled for 2015, the UK is lagging far behind our economic rivals. Three years is a long time to wait for high speed mobile Internet, especially when countries like the US and Germany will enjoy the benefits of 4G this year.

But although it is estimated to cost the UK economy £1.5bn in total, this delay is actually a blessing in disguise. Much of our creaking network infrastructure is already having difficulty coping with the number of Internet-connected devices and the inexorable rise of bandwidth-intensive traffic, such as video and unified communications.

It’s important to remember that the UK has never been a true 3G nation, with universal coverage and availability. The move to 4G will be an even bigger step up for all concerned, yet telcos are having a hard enough time responding to the increasing strain on their networks.

When 4G finally brings fixed-line speeds to the millions of mobile devices in the UK it will increase bandwidth by a factor of four; datacentres will see an eightfold increase in data; while storage requirements will be 16 times greater."

Jewell fears that, without such a delay, the new 4G services would completely swamp "the UK's outdated networks" and repeat the mistakes of 3G's implementation in this country. In fairness the 4G situation is somewhat different and Ofcom's delay only seems to apply to its auction and not service availability.

The government dramatically overcharged for 3G and then operators didn't know what to do with it (video calls anyone? 50p a minute!). By contrast Mobile Broadband has now been established as a viable consumer service and demand is already pushing the limits of 3G tech; 4G is fast becoming a necessity.
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