Qualcomm has become the latest company to show support for the 4G network to be introduced to Britain, joining the likes of O2 and Vodafone, both of which have recently announced plans to pool their resources in a bid to roll out the fourth-generation mobile internet to 98 per cent of the UK by 2015.
Speaking to press at his company’s annual Uplinq Developer’s Conference in San Diego, California, Enrico Salvatori, SVP & President, Qualcomm Europe, said:
“[The introduction of 4G in the UK] is completely out of our control. The process by the government to make available a frequency band for LT, that’s really what’s missing because the UK is a very developed market, so carriers are available, devices are available, [a] subscriber [base] interested in mobile broadband is available, so all the elements are there.
“From a Qualcomm perspective, we would like to see our customers selling as many devices as possible around the market - the UK is definitely a very important market for us - and so we would like to see LTE deployed as soon as possible.”
The introduction of 4G in the UK, set for 2013, has long been called for by mobile manufacturers and networks alike, however, fears continue to grow over the possibility that the mobile broadband network could potentially disrupt TV reception across millions of homes - it's feared that up to 2.3m households could be affected by the rollout.
As a solution, the government is considering switching those affected to a satellite platform, a decision that has been met with angst by Freeview’s stakeholders who argue that it could tip the balance of power between paid-for and free to air platforms.
Last month, Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, came under fire from cross-party MPs over his plans to introduce 4G to Britain, with Conservative MP Anna Soubry raising concerns that the disruption could potentially leave millions of households out of pocket. Meanwhile the Voice of the Listener and Viewer has described Mr Hunt’s plans as “an outrage”.
However, Hunt made clear that further consultation is being sought to deal with the problem, saying: “I have not been told by Ofcom that they have any concerns about the plans in place but I will listen to them very carefully indeed… We are looking very carefully at this problem.
"We take it very seriously and we welcome any representation made by my hon friend [Conservative MP Anna Soubry] or any other members to make sure we get this right.”