Operators push for spring 4G launch

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Operators push for spring 4G launch

Next generation mobile services could be launched six months ahead of schedule, with the UK’s four largest operators in talks with the Government and infrastructure companies in a bid to bring forward the rollout of 4G.

The companies are working together to see where time can be saved in the rollout of next generation services. EE announced last week it would launch a 4G service in 16 cities by the end of this year. Under the current timetable, the 4G auction will be held by industry regulator Ofcom in early 2013. The airwaves are expected to be cleared by the summer, allowing operators to roll out 4G services on both the 800MHz and 2.6GHz frequencies by the autumn.

Speaking to Mobile, O2 UK CEO Ronan Dunne said it was in the country’s best interests to give businesses and consumers a range of 4G services to choose from across different operators. He said: ‘It’s very much in that spirit where we are all saying, “let’s spend less time debating and let’s talk about giving consumers some choice”.’

Dunne said the companies were exploring ways of holding the auction over a shorter period to reduce the time it would take to clear the spectrum and get the right infrastructure in place. He refused to be drawn on a timescale, but sources at rival operators told Mobile this could result in a spring launch for a range of 4G services, rather than next autumn as planned.

Editor: Graeme Neill

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