Ofcom gives approval for 4G

THE NEXT generation of mobile connectivity could be in the UK this year after Ofcom yesterday issued approval for Everything Everywhere to update the airwaves it already owns for 4G use.

This comes less than a week after Apple revealed its new iPad would offer a fourth generation (4G) connection, which will give a significantly faster internet speed for mobile devices and enhance services such as video streaming, high-definition gaming and social network usage.

With Ofcom’s approval, telecoms hybrid Everything Everywhere will now be able to start upgrading its current airwaves, which are on the 1800MHz spectrum, for 4G use.

This means 4G could hit UK airwaves before the other mobile operators are given a chance to bid for airwaves on the 800MHz spectrum – which currently hosts analogue TV – in an auction early next year.

Ofcom said Everything Everywhere’s change of spectrum use “is likely to bring material benefits to consumers including faster mobile broadband speeds and... potentially wider mobile coverage in rural areas.”

A Vodafone spokesperson said it came as “a surprise that the regulator is now considering giving the largest player in the market permission to use its existing spectrum for 4G.”

The rival mobile network provider argued that the lack of competition would hinder the full benefits of 4G being realised: “We seriously doubt that consumers’ best interests will be served by giving one company a significant head start.”

But Ofcom said it believed its decision on this matter would not distort competition.

There is a four week window to submit views on the proposed change.