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UK 4G rollout delay

UK_4G_rollout_delay_11441

Ofcom denies changing plans

Ofcom has announced that the auction for 4G bandwidth in the UK will be held in early 2013.

However, the telecommunications regulator has rejected claims that this marks a delay to their original plans, after it had previously indicated two possible dates during 2012.

BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones tweeted: “Ofcom – no delay in 4G auction – plan was always to start process late 2012, but complete ‘hopefully’ in Q1 2013.”

Indeed, the organisation had previously indicated that the 4G spectrum would not be available until 2013, regardless of when the auction was held. O2 CEO Ronan Dunne has predicted July 2013 as the earliest possible starting point.

The plan is to spread 4G mobile broadband access across 98 per cent of rural UK, with an auction set to put 80 per cent more of the mobile spectrum up for sale than the previous 3G process in 2000.

Mixed reaction expected

While some companies are raring to go and will undoubtedly be frustrated at this fresh postponement, there are some who may be pleased to be granted more time to prepare for the impending changes.

Whatever their thoughts are, mobile operators may be surprised not to be given a specific auction date by Ofcom, which has already suggested that there will not be widespread 4G coverage across the whole of the UK until 2015, setting the country way behind those who already enjoy efficient 4G such as the USA and Japan.

This will also be a blow to UK mobile internet users, after it was revealed that the country enjoys some of the highest smartphone ownership figures in Europe.

Daniel Nolan, managing director at theEword, said: “This may only be a minor delay, but it will frustrate users that they must wait even longer for the kind of fast-paced mobile broadband enjoyed overseas. Clearly Ofcom wants to implement 4G properly and fairly, but it would be preferable if they started doing it quickly as well.”

Written by James Riches

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