10/2/2012 12:31:18 PM
Government to hold 4G crunch talks
The Government is holding crunch talks with operators later today in a bid to bring forward the launch of 4G and remove the threat of legal action that had dogged the process.
As Mobile revealed last month, the Government is holding talks between operators, infrastructure companies and the regulator Ofcom to explore ways of speeding up the rollout of next generation services. The group is working to clear the spectrum much quicker than the current timetable and explore if the relevant infrastructure could be rolled out at a faster rate. Under the current timescale, 4G will be able to be launched by every operator in the UK by late 2013. EE has expressed its intention to launch 4G by later this year, after refarming its 1800MHz spectrum. This has angered rivals and legal action has threatened to derail the process entirely.
If the new culture secretary Maria Miller is able to broker an agreement, it could mean EE could launch its 4G service within weeks. As part of the conditions of the talks, EE is believed to have had to give its rivals two weeks notice before it launches a next generation service. The agreement could also bring forward the launch of 4G services by EE's rivals by as much as six months, meaning potentially a late spring or early summer rollout of 4G by O2, Three and Vodafone.
Editor: Graeme Neill