Ofcom warms to 4G over current spectrum

UK regulator Ofcom is paving the way for the launch of commercial 4G services in the country by end-2012, opening a consultation into proposals by EverythingEverywhere to re-use its current spectrum.
The regulator states an initial examination of the proposal shows the move would not distort competition in the market, and could boost 4G coverage in rural areas. The month-long consultation invites views on EverythingEverywhere’s plans to utilize its current 800-MHz and 1800-MHz spectrum for 4G services, which the operator claims could enable it to launch commercial services by the year-end.
Ofcom states that clearing the operator to re-use the spectrum “is likely to bring material benefits to consumers, including faster mobile broadband speeds and – depending on how Everything Everywhere uses the spectrum – potentially wider mobile broadband coverage in rural areas.”
Rural coverage was a key consideration in amended 4G auction terms released by Ofcom in January. The regulator increased the maximum coverage targets by 3% to 98% after the UK government detailed a £150 million (€180 million) investment to boost penetration of 4G in areas that currently have little or no cellular coverage.
EverythingEverywhere claims a trial of 4G technology on 800-MHz spectrum has proven the frequency is “optimal for the roll out of 4G LTE in rural areas,” and is set to trial 4G over 1800-MHz in April.