Everything Everywhere: UK 4G to start in 'a small number of cities'

Exclusive: According to EE spokesperson 4G UK rollout will start small

Speaking to T3, Everything Everywhere's Mat Sears has confirmed that while they hope to launch before 2013 it will start out small with a 'handful of cities'

4G in the UK will start in only a 'small handful of cities' before it gets a wider rollout according to Everything Everywhere's Mat Sears who spoke to Dan Maudsley from the T3 Podcast.

The Head of Communications at Everything Everywhere admitted that 4G wouldn't instantly appear with new smartphones when it launched.

"We expect, certainly when we launch, we hope to be the first network out there but it will be a small number of cities, a small handful of cities likely or certainly areas, and we expect that to be dongle based."

"Generally tech like this when they launch whether it's 3G or HSDPA+, the tech gets embedded into dongles first of all and then they move it onto handsets."

This comes following Ofcom's ruling to allow operator Everything Everywhere – the owner of Orange and T-mobile – to recycle it's older networks for the use of 4G.

When asked to comment on the outcries by Vodafone and O2 who believe that this gives an unfair advantage to Everything Everywhere Sears had this to say:

"This is something that has been mandated by the EU, that network operators around the country should be allowed to use their spectrum for whatever technology they see fit."

The regulator was initially considering if the move would distort competition, but has decided it will not and that it will in fact bring benefits to consumers.

'Interested parties' – by which we assume Ofcom means rival networks – have four weeks in which to submit their views on the move.

Problems with UK 4G

As we understand a chief problem with the UK's 4G network rollout is that there was a delay in auctioning off the frequencies that they will operate on. Recycling an existing 2G frequency, for instance, would appear to circumvent the problem.

For a full report on how the UK's 4G plans are shaping up, and how it will relate to the new iPad, click here.

We were told 02 won't be launching 4G until sometime in 2013, which would give the firm – which owns T-Mobile and Orange – a head start in this area.

Merged service

The Orange and T-Mobile 3G networks merged its 3G networks, and an imminent final switchover will mean phones on either network will switch automatically to whichever signal is strongest, depending on where they are.

It now claims to be the largest 3G network in the country, and £1.5 billion is being ploughed into the network over the next three years.

The initial 4G offering is likely to be dongle based, but will expand in 2013 to other high-speed services. It is currently being trialled in rural areas.

In the meantime, it is launching a nationwide HSPA+ (3.5G) network, which it claims will provide 50 per cent faster data speeds for T-Mobile and Orange mobile broadband customers.

“Everything Everywhere's vision is to launch 4G for Britain as soon as possible, and the roll out of 3.5G HSPA+ and our 4G trials across Britain are major steps towards delivering on that promise,” said Olaf Swantee, CEO at Everything Everywhere, prior to today's Ofcom ruling.

“The integration of the Orange and T-Mobile networks has already given our customers the widest 3G coverage in the UK – and I am pleased to say that with our advanced HSPA+ roll out they will also benefit from the fastest.

“I am also very proud to announce that, subject to regulatory approval by the spring, Everything Everywhere will be in a position to begin the roll out of 4G before the end of the year. There is a great opportunity for the UK to have the 21st Century network that it so deserves, putting the nation on a level playing field with other parts of Europe, the USA and Asia.”

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