UK mobile operator 3 UK has discussed the option of pooling its 800 MHz spectrum with that of rival operator EE, and also suggested it could launch commercial LTE services ahead of schedule this year.
The UK may have been late to the LTE game, but the deployment of the technology is now advancing across the UK, with recent announcements from operators highlighting further progress in their rollouts of LTE networks.
BT has opened the bidding for a new mobile partner in a move that could see the UK's former telecoms monopoly back together with its former mobile unit, O2 UK, according to a report in the Financial Times .
UK operator EE said it signed up 318,000 LTE customers during its first five months of offering the service, but the company still reported a decline both in its overall subscriber base and service revenue in the first quarter of the year.
EE intends to sign up more than 1 million subscribers to its LTE network by the end of this year, as the UK mobile operator makes the most of its diminishing lead on rival operators by also promising to double average LTE speeds to 20 Mbps.
3 UK, the UK's smallest mobile operator, said the quality of its 3G network will stop its data-hungry subscribers defecting to rival LTE services before it turns on its own 4G network. The operator expects to launch LTE toward the end of 2013.
UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has now published the round-by-round bids made by each operator in the recent LTE spectrum auction. This data provides a unique insight into elements of the bidders' auction strategies.
Executives with the three UK operators involved in mobile payments and marketing joint venture Weve used an appearance at a recent event in London to emphasise to retailers and brands the significance of their startegy. Vodafone UK CEO Guy Laurence said not signing up will be like "not signing the Beatles."
EE is bringing LTE to service to one of the most remote areas of the UK, which has so far not had the benefits of next-generation fixed and mobile broadband services. The operator continues to build its lead over its rivals in LTE coverage and is demonstrating that it bring the high-speed service to rural as well as urban areas.
The trick in auction design is to encourage sufficient competition among bidders while also ensuring that there are adequate incentives for the operators and their financial backers to build out networks rapidly and on a widespread basis.