BT preparing to join UK LTE fight

BT revealed plans to enter the UK's increasingly busy LTE market, with a service for business users due to launch in a matter of weeks.

The former incumbent confirmed it will add LTE to its current mobile services for business users by the summer, and plans to extend the service to consumers by April 2015, V3 reported, citing a company statement.

Businesses are already being invited to register their interest in the LTE service, though it is unclear whether the offer will utilise the mobile network of EE or Vodafone--both of which BT uses for its current mobile services--V3 noted.

BT confirmed in its statement that the consumer LTE service will utilise EE's network. In a presentation to the Transport Networks for Mobile Operators trade conference in London mid-May, Andy Sutton, principal network architect at EE, said the operator achieved the fastest rollout of LTE after South Korea, after it launched services on refarmed 1800 MHz spectrum before the UK auctioned LTE frequencies in 2013.

EE recently said it is on track to sign up at least 6 million LTE users in 2014, after reaching 2.9 million subscribers by the end of the first quarter of 2014. The company said its network now covers 200 UK towns and cities--enough to give it coverage of 72 per cent of the population.

Information on BT's business site shows the company is pledging to connect businesses to a network with 70 per cent coverage, suggesting EE is in the running to provide LTE coverage for BT's business service in addition to the consumer offer.

BT will become the fifth operator offering LTE services in the UK, alongside Vodafone UK, EE, O2 UK, 3 UK, and MVNO Tesco Mobile, CNET noted.

For more:
- see BT's business site
- see this V3 report
- see this CNET article

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