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Ofcom solves UK's LTE imbalance

03 октября 2012

Ofcom has found a way to appease all parties in the U.K.'s ongoing LTE rollout row: it has formulated a plan that will see the spectrum for LTE services made available for use sooner than originally thought.

Citing the contents of a letter from Ofcom to new U.K. culture secretary Maria Miller, the BBC said in a radio report on Tuesday morning that the regulator has ″found a way of speeding up the 4G auction process″.

The move could see newly-renamed EE, the parent company of Orange and T-Mobile's U.K. operations, launch services imminently and other major operators – likely Vodafone, O2 and 3UK, follow suit in mid-2013.

The U.K.'s LTE rollout is on hiatus as telecoms operators squabble over the right to launch services.

EE is on the verge of bringing services to market, having been given the go-ahead to roll out LTE in refarmed 1800-MHz spectrum. But O2 and Vodafone, who do not have spectrum to refarm for LTE, have objected, fearing a competitive disadvantage if EE is allowed to launch much earlier than they are able to. They will have to wait until early next year for the auction of spectrum in the 800-MHz and 2.6-GHz bands, bands that were not due to be cleared for use until the end of 2013. But that may now have changed.

The telcos have been holding talks with the regulator and the government in a bid to resolve the problem. They reportedly agreed to take no action for a month – EE held off on the launch and threats of legal action were put on hold – a deadline that is now up.

According to the BBC, Ofcom has found a way to clear the frequencies earlier than the end of next year, thereby shortening the gap between EE's launch and the ability of its rivals to follow suit, should they acquire spectrum, of course.

In addition, there are suggestions that the regulator will attempt to bring forward the auction itself by a few weeks. All in all, the BBC said, EE's period of LTE exclusivity could be cut to around six months from as much as 18 months, which is an outcome that will likely prove satisfactory to all the operators.

Источник: Total Telecom

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