Ofcom frees up more space for 4G services

THE NEXT generation of mobile technology will face fewer barriers to the UK market after regulator Ofcom yesterday granted permission for 2G and 3G spectrums to be used for 4G networks.

O2, Vodafone and Three will benefit from the liberalisation as they launch their 4G services later this summer and attempt to catch up with rival EE’s head start.

Vodafone and Three had asked the communications regulator to adopt the change back in February, and the favourable decision will enable the carriers to expand the reach of their higher-speed technology and allow for a faster rollout of the service. EE received approval for its 4G airwaves last October, and has increased speeds and cut prices over the last few months ahead of competitors’ entry into the 4G market.

Ofcom held an auction in February for the 800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum bands assigned to 4G. Vodafone spent the highest amount, £790m, securing a third of the lower frequency band that provides a longer range and indoor coverage as well as some of the higher speed band.