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4G auction and roll-out brought forward by several months
Tuesday 02 October 2012 21:40:14 by Andrew Ferguson

We hope that the new Culture Secretary Maria Miller did not have to bash too many heads together to get this result, but we can report that the Ofcom 4G auctions for the 800 MHz and 2600 MHz spectrum is now several months closer to delivering an actual service than this morning.

The Ofcom press release on the news indicates that they now expect the auction to begin at the end of the year, with actual service delivery on the auctioned spectrum in the first half of 2013. In the meantime Everything Everywhere will be the sole UK 4G LTE provider, though as yet no date has been announced for when people will be able to actually order and utilise the service.

"Delivering 4G quickly is a key part of our economic growth strategy. I am grateful to the mobile operators for their co-operation in bringing forward vital 4G services.

By speeding up the delivery of 4G in the UK, the Government is creating enormous opportunities. It is up to the operators to now deliver the services that businesses and consumers expect and we are confident they will succeed."

Culture Secretary, Maria Miller

Some of the reasons that the auction cannot happen earlier is that even if it did happen tomorrow, there is still lots of work to take place and clear TV transmitters that are operating in the 800 MHz band. Work at two major transmitter sites has been brought forward to speed up the roll-out, with sites that affect around 10 million people shutting down in April and May 2013.

The 4G roll-out has a reserve of £1.4bn, which if the bidders do not reach will see the auction collapsing, but the DCMS is hoping to exceed this and raise perhaps £3bn from the auction. Oddly who ever picks the pictures for a DCMS release, has used on old iPhone that does not work with 4G and is connected to a North American cell provider. The iPhone 5 while 4G capable will only operate on the 1800 MHz frequency, though plenty of other providers are releasing 4G capable handsets that will operate on the 800 MHz and 2600 MHz bands.

The coverage obligations as part of the auction require the operators to provide indoor coverage of 4G mobile broadband to 98% of people in villages, towns and cities across the UK, and outdoor coverage should exceed 99% of the people. Hopefully this is not careful political wording to state 'villages, towns and cities' as there are a good number of people who live outside what most of the population would consider a village.


Posted by Norest over 4 years ago
Well spotted on the vague coverage definition. I'm sure the networks will find easy ways to make 98% seem more like 68%
Posted by jabrady10 over 4 years ago
Mobile coverage in rural Wiltshire is very poor - does this mean the mobile companies will be investing to increase their coverage? I doubt it!!
Posted by chrysalis over 4 years ago
where does the cash go from the acution?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
£180m goes toward the mitigation of interference from 800MHz band on Freeview, the rest to the Government
Posted by olisun over 4 years ago
I called T-Mobile to check if there are offers for existing customers only to be told I will have to buy a new 4G handset on another 24mnths contract..
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
@olisun - does your existing phone support 1800MHz 4G?

EE may not do sim-only deals initially, don't believe there is any rule saying they HAVE to provide these.
Posted by olisun over 4 years ago
No.. I got a S3 on a new 24 month contract a couple months back.

All the talk of "Amazing deals for existing customers" is bollocks.
Posted by mitchja over 4 years ago
There is a bit of info on the EE website mentioning buying an iPhone (or I presume any other 4G ready handset) that mentions if you are already on a TMob or Orange 30 day SIM only tariff you will need to switch to a 12 month one with them first.

That reads to me EE will offer SIM only contracts, but only 12 month ones.

From click the 'Move to EE' link at the very bottom, then expend the 'MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A 4G PHONE ON ORANGE OR T-MOBILE' FAQ for more info.

4G/LTE ready S3 and a couple of other handsets (besides the iPhone 5) have gone on sale today at both T-Mobile and Orange
Posted by olisun over 4 years ago
I just called up T-Mobile to check if I can transfer my number from another provider mid-way into my T-Mobile contract and during the conversation I mentioned that I had bought the S3 just a few months ago to which lady replied that "4G will be enabled with a firmware update but she cannot promise anything at this stage" and T-Mobile know that there are hundreds of users who have recently bought the 3G S3...

I wonder how LTE can be enabled by a firmware update.
Posted by mitchja over 4 years ago

sorry but what you where told by T-Mobile is complete and utter rubbish as LTE cannot just be 'added' to a handset with a firmware upgrade
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
There are two versions of the SIII

SIII 3G GT-I9300
Posted by otester over 4 years ago
Just wonder when Three will launch theirs.
Posted by olisun over 4 years ago
@andrew @mitchja

I think T-Mobile are trying to fob off customers who call in to inquire about the upgrade options.

I am guessing people who take up 24 months contracts now are in for a big shock when they try and move over to the EE 4G network.
Posted by michaels_perry over 4 years ago
At least 2 major television transmitters are having to be moved to different frequencies out of the 4G band, as well as more than 100 repeater/relay transmitters - just to get spectrum available for 4G users.
Posted by michaels_perry over 4 years ago
So some 10m, or more, television users of Freeview will have to retune yet again when things are moved. That will be the ninth time, at least, for many viewers and shows the whole system has been very badly planned from the start. And what about all those viewers who cannot do the retune themselves and have to pay for it?
Posted by olisun over 4 years ago
Just as predicted, the prices are rubbish and people who took 2yr contract to move to 4G are stuffed now...
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