Everything Everywhere Authorized to Offer UK's First LTE Service Ahead of Next iPhone
In a statement on its website, Ofcom announced that it had approved Everything Everywhere’s request to rebrand its 1800MHz spectrum to deliver 4G services from September 11, 2012, highlighting that as a result it would be able to deliver “significant benefits to consumers, and that there is no material risk that those benefits will be outweighed by a distortion of competition.“It will take some time for Everything Everywhere, which currently operates the Orange and T-Mobile brands in the UK, to roll out the service, but a number of of observers have already pointed out that the effective date comes just one day prior to Apple's all-but-confirmed media event to introduce the next-generation iPhone.
The current-generation iPad only supports LTE over 700 MHz and 2100 MHz frequencies, and Apple will need to support several other frequency bands if it wishes to support LTE service in major markets outside of the existing iPad compatibility in the U.S. and Canada. Just last week, Korean carriers reported that they were talking to Apple about supporting LTE service on their 800 MHz and 1800 MHz bands.
While Everything Everywhere is undoubtedly pleased by Ofcom's ruling giving it early permission to offer LTE service, The Verge notes that the carrier's competitors (Vodafone, Three and O2) are less enthusiastic as they look toward the UK's main auction of 800 MHz and 2600 MHz bands early next year, arguing that Everything Everywhere's advantage will distort the competitive landscape in the UK mobile market.