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T-Mobile and Orange UK Hope to Deploy Superfast 4G Mobile Broadband in 2012

Posted: 23rd Feb, 2012 By: MarkJ
uk lte 3g 4g ofcom mobile broadbandlte mobile broadband 4gMobile group Everything Everywhere, which represents Orange and T-Mobile in the UK, has claimed that it's "ready to roll out" the country's first commercial superfast 4G (LTE) Mobile Broadband service in 2012 but only if it gets the necessary regulatory approval from Ofcom in the Spring.

The UK communications regulator, Ofcom, is already under direction from the EU to allow the use of Long Term Evolution ( LTE ) technology over the existing 1800MHz spectrum band. Everything Everywhere put in an official request to re-purpose this for 4G last month (here).

Meanwhile the group, which will continue its joint 800MHz based 4G trials in Cornwall with BT (details), has also announced the UK's first 4G (LTE) trials over 1800MHz in Bristol from April 2012. This is an understandable choice as 1800MHz has always been better suited to urban and suburban environments (works well in buildings).

Olaf Swantee, CEO of Everything Everywhere, said:

"Everything Everywhere’s vision is to launch 4G for Britain as soon as possible, and the roll out of 3.5G HSPA+ and our 4G trials across Britain are major steps towards delivering on that promise.

The integration of the Orange and T-Mobile networks has already given our customers the widest 3G coverage in the UK – and I am pleased to say that with our advanced HSPA+ roll out they will also benefit from the fastest.

I am also very proud to announce that, subject to regulatory approval by the spring, Everything Everywhere will be in a position to begin the roll out of 4G before the end of the year. There is a great opportunity for the UK to have the 21st Century network that it so deserves, putting the nation on a level playing field with other parts of Europe, the USA and Asia."

Earlier this week Everything Everywhere also revealed that it planned to roll out a nationwide HSPA+ (3.5G) network (up to 21Mbps), which they claim "will provide 50% faster data speeds" to their customers. Apparently the HSPA+ upgrade is already deployed across 60% of the network and will be completed in Q3 2012. Both Three (3) and O2 have also been busy making similar upgrades.

It's worth remembering that existing customers will need HSPA+ compatible hardware to see any benefit. A bigger problem exists for 4G, where there is a distinct lack of supporting handsets and dongles (USB Modems). Orange might be able to launch the service in 2012 (unlike 800MHz, the 1800MHz does not require an auction) but the lack of compatible kit would carry some risk.

Over the next 3 years both Orange and T-Mobile aim to invest more than £1.5bn to improve network speed, reliability and coverage (i.e. about £1.4m being invested every day).
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