Everything Everywhere (EE) said it is ready to launch LTE this year but is being hampered by Vodafone and O2 not working to build the necessary ecosystem.
The operator, which has been lobbying the UK telecoms regulator, Ofcom, to allow to allow it to refarm is 1800 MHz spectrum for LTE use, said it's made the necessary investment to gain a head-start on it UK rivals, while they have instead focused on improving their 3G networks.
If Vodafone and O2 were to start deploying LTE now, they could do it in nine to 12 months, Tom Bennett, director of network services and device development at EE, told ComputerWorld UK. He said the operators need to work on creating the proper LTE "ecosystem," including device manufacturers, to support LTE.
"Compared to 3G [where the UK was ahead of the rest of the world], we are easily two years behind [with LTE]," said Bennett.
Adding to the criticism, David Salem, head of network strategy and architecture at EE, said: "Vodafone and O2 have had their opportunity to do the same [roll out LTE] and they have chosen not to champion LTE at this stage," he told CNET UK. "It's a choice."
"The 900MHz they have [they could have used for LTE]," Salem sadded. "They have chosen to reuse that spectrum for 3G [instead]. It is part of an efficiency drive." Salam maintains that EE is not looking at low cost strategies, but is intent on moving forward with LTE, and gaining an early lead in the UK, according to Computer World.
However, O2 has responded by claiming that the ecosystem EE was referring to didn't exist, and was unlikely to develop.
"There is so little 900MHz spectrum in Europe that it doesn't make commercial sense for the manufacturers to build the handsets to support it. And that is not going to change," O2 spokesperson told CNET.
Unwilling to accept this viewpoint, EE's Bennett told CNET: "The chipsets have supported 900MHz for a good year. As an operator you have a relationship with a vendor--you go to Samsung or HTC and you say, 'Are you going to assemble devices? I'll make it worth your while.' You create the market."
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