YTHING Everywhere, the parent company of Orange and T-Mobile, yesterday won a significant victory as it received approval on plans to launch Britain’s first high-speed mobile data network.
It will be able to bring the 4G service to the UK from 11 September, handing Everything Everywhere a head start on rival networks, after Ofcom freed up its 1800MHz airwave frequency. The service is likely to roll out gradually in the following months, starting with major cities.
The company, which has 27m UK customers, also said it will launch a new network later this year alongside Orange and T-Mobile.
Chief executive Olaf Swantee has been looking at the firm’s brand strategy for some time, but the firm denied the venture will be used to bring customers under one roof.
Rival networks, which will have to wait until Ofcom auctions off additional spectrum before they can launch 4G services, hit out at the decision. Vodafone said allowing Everything Everywhere early access showed “a careless disregard for the best interests of consumers” and O2 said the decision “undermines the competitive environment”.
Everything Everywhere also announced it will sell part of its 1800MHz frequency to Three in line with EU laws. The deal does not have to be finalised until next October.
WHEN CAN I GET 4G ON MY MOBILE?
Q What is 4G and why is it better?
A4G is the next generation of mobile internet, offering speeds comparable to home broadband and allowing faster loading of websites and downloads.
Q Will it be available on my phone or tablet?
A Everything Everywhere can activate 4G from September, but few UK models can access 4G on the firm’s 1800MHz frequency. This may change with new iPhone and Nokia models due later in the year.
Q When will the other UK networks be able to offer 4G?
A Ofcom will sell 4G airwaves at the end of the year. All the major networks are expected to get a piece ahead of launches next year.