In a move that came earlier than expected, Ofcom has today given the go ahead to Everything Everywhere to use its existing bandwidth to launch 4G services. Exploiting this noise, Orange and T-Mobile will drop its separate branding from March 2013 with all customers moving to Everything Everywhere 4G.
Plans had been in place for some time for Ofcom to auction 4G bandwidth to customers early in 2013 so this announcement has been received with indignation by Vodafone, who stated that they were “frankly shocked that Ofcom has reached this decision.”
In a prepared statement, the network went on to say that “the regulator has shown a careless disregard for the best interests of consumers, businesses and the wider economy through its refusal to properly regard the competitive distortion created by allowing one operator to run services before the ground has been laid for a fully competitive 4G market.”
Ofcom has granted Everything Everywhere the license from September 11, meaning the network can begin offering 4G services one day before the expected release of the iPhone 5; a handset that’s likely to carry 4G capabilities.
The term 4G, or fourth generation, is generally used to refer to mobile broadband services delivered using the next generation of mobile broadband technologies including Long Term Evolution (LTE) and WiMAX. LTE technical standards make efficient use of radio spectrum, and so are ideally suited for high bandwidth data services such as video streaming, email, GPS and mapping services and social networking sites.
This means that download speeds will increase by around ten times that of 3G, making the streaming of live TV, among others, seamless. 4G dongles may also become a viable alternative to fixed broadband lines for homes that struggle with poor connection, making this announcement a real game changer for Britain.