With temperatures rising, the 4G debate is about to reach boiling point as rivals continue to clash over spectrum. With Everything Everywhere pushing for 4G to be introduced this year, both 02 and Vodafone have again come out and attacked Ofcom. O2 has accused the regulator of giving Everything Everywhere an ‘unfettered’ monopoly on 4G for at least 18 months after it decided to allow the operator to refarm its 1800MHz spectrum for a 4G service.
Vodafone has also weighed into the debate, criticising Ofcom for giving Everything Everywhere an ‘unjustifiable headstart… which could seriously undermine competition in the UK market.’
However, Everything Everywhere CEO Olaf Swantee hit back, saying his company was one of several capable of launching a 4G service this year. He described accusations that Everything Everywhere had any sort of ‘monopoly’ on 4G as the type of rhetoric that would only delay its arrival in the UK.
Whatever the merits of these arguments, Ofcom’s Ed Richards and the Minister for Culture, Communication and Creative Industries Ed Vaizey MP have to be strong and very clear as to how the 4G debate will unfold. The squabbling has to be met head on. However, at the moment there seems to be a deafening silence from both the regulator and the Government. Now would be a good time to update us on any progress.
Any impasse over this vital issue is not only damaging to the economy but risks turning the UK into a laughing stock. At a time when the nation is coming together to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, technology-wise we could end up looking rather Victorian.
Don’t forget that earlier this year I launched my own campaign, ‘No delay – 4G all the way’, to ensure the UK did not fall any further behind. And that still holds; we must move forward quickly with all of the interested parties onside. This will help to attract new investment, giving our ailing economy a much needed shot in the arm. Let’s not let ourselves or the country down on this very important issue.