UK celcos cry foul over mobile WiMAX license

Having paid over US$40 billion for their 3G licenses, the UK mobile operator community has protested loudly to the telecoms regulator following the removal of restrictions on the wireless broadband operator, UK Broadband, from offering high-speed data services to mobile users.

This move by the regulator (Ofcom) will open the door for UK Broadband to deploy mobile WiMAX in the 3.5GHz spectrum once the company has completed tests to establish the performance and coverage of the technology.

Ofcom said UK Broadband planned to migrate its existing customers to 802.16e-compliant WiMAX equipment, providing nomadic services via a public access WiFi network to WiMAX modems. It would also install semi-private base stations in client premises, which would allow access both to the client's staff and to UK Broadband's public access service operating at speeds of between 1.5Mbps to 2Mbps per user.

"Ofcom believes that removing restrictions on the licensee will benefit consumers, encourage competition, optimise use of the spectrum and is therefore in the interests of citizens and consumers. Ofcom also believes that the likelihood of interference to other users is low," the watchdog said.

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