- O2 outlines plans for its 4G launch and fastest growing UK 4G network
- Network to switch on in London, Leeds and Bradford with ten additional cities to follow by the end of the year
- Plans to reach 98% UK population indoor with 2G, 3G and 4G
- 4G on O2 will be available to all new and existing customers on a range of tariffs from £26 a month
- Multi award-winning act to headline at the O2 4G London Launch Gig
Ofcom has finally granted permits for more UK mobile phone operators to launch their own 4G networks.
The four new winners are Hutchison 3G, a division of BT called Niche Spectrum, Telefonica O2 and Vodafone.
Existing 4G operator Everything Everywhere was also given expanded bandwith.
The auction raised £2.34bn for the taxpayer but the Government had hoped for a total of £3.5bn.
Britain’s last big mobile phone spectrum auction was in 2000 for 3G services and it raised £22.5bn.
In real terms, the 3G windfall would be worth more than £30bn today – more than 12 times the revenue raised on 4G.
Ofcom said the purpose of the auction was to “promote strong competition in the 4G mobile market”.
It said in a statement:
“This is expected to lead to faster mobile broadband speeds, lower prices, greater innovation, new investment and better coverage.
“Almost the whole UK population will be able to receive 4G mobile services by the end of 2017 at the latest.”
New entrants in the sector, including Chinese-owned firms, failed in their bids.
The regulator said that was simply because their bids were too low.
Ofcom also revealed that it was “planning now to support the release of further spectrum for possible future ‘5G’ mobile services”.
It said that by 2030, demand for mobile data could be 80 times higher than it is in 2013.
Future development of 5G would be needed to meet this demand and avoid a feared “capacity crunch”.
Ofcom added: “More mobile spectrum is needed over the long term, together with new technologies to make mobile broadband more efficient.”
Initial 4G operator EE has already rolled out coverage to 28 towns and cities, to more than 46% of the population.
Demand for the new services has extended as penetration of smartphones has increased in recent years.
4G can supply data stream feeds typically five times faster than 3G.
Source: [Sky News]
When Ofcom gave EE special license to reuse 1,800MHz spectrum for its fledgling LTE network; to put it mildly, that rubbed other carriers the wrong way.
The agency may be more open to a level playing field, as it’s proposing letting everyone follow a similar route, and then some.
Following calls from H3G (Three), Telefonica (O2) and Vodafone, Ofcom has offered to let all UK providers repurpose both their 1,800MHz airwaves as well as the 900MHz and 2,100MHz bands.
We won’t have too long to wait before a decision: Ofcom will decide on the proposal in the second quarter, which might come just in time for carriers to supplement whatever bandwidth they get from 4G auctions.
Especially when hardware already exists that could use the frequencies for faster speeds; success could see the trickle of UK LTE become more of a torrent.
There will be two relative strangers to mobile users among the firms bidding in next year’s 4G auction.
Ofcom announced there would be seven companies competing for space in what will be the biggest ever sale of the UK’s mobile airwaves.
The regulator said the auction, which kicks off in January, will herald “better, faster and more reliable mobile broadband connections” for consumers across the UK.
EE, which was formed from the merger of Orange and T-Mobile, already has access to 4G and was the first to offer a 4G network in the UK by using old 2G capacity, but is bidding for more space.
Vodafone, Hutchison 3G and O2 parent firm Telefonica will also be competing while it is understood that BT is more interested in bolstering its wi-fi services than in becoming a major mobile phone player.
The intentions of PCCW, which owns Hong Kong Telecom, and UK network supplier MLL Telecom are less clear but MLL confirmed that its interest was limited to one of supporting mobile firms rather than becoming an operator itself.
Ofcom said the auction, which kicks off next month, will herald “better, faster and more reliable mobile broadband connections” for consumers across the UK.
Its chief executive Ed Richards said: “The 4G auction will be a competitive process that will dictate the shape of the UK mobile phone market for the next decade and beyond.”
It is expected to raise up to £3.5bn for the Treasury.
The bidders will be competing to buy airwaves in two separate bands – higher frequency 2.6 GHz and lower frequency 800 MHz – with around 28 lots of spectrum up for grabs in total.
Experts suggest that, for the typical user, download speeds of initial 4G networks will be at least five to seven times faster than those for existing 3G networks.
This means a music album that takes 20 minutes to download on a 3G phone will take just over three minutes on 4G.
4G is also expected to revolutionise other high-bandwidth data services such as streaming high-quality video or watching live TV.
I think the iPhone5 rumour mill just cranked up a gear with today’s announced plans for a new mobile payments and marketing joint venture by Ronan Dunne, CEO of O2 Telefonica in the UK.
As some are aware, one of the big expected hardware changes with the iPhone5 is the inclusion of NFC (Near Field Communication) which, on a basic level, allows people to pay for things by simply swiping their phone which has had their debit/credit card details entered onto it previously.
With the announcement that the top three UK networks (O2, Vodafone and Everything Everywhere) are going to be working together to make NFC available in the UK; only one thing stands to reason. There will be a phone launching in the early new year (the deadline set out for the joint venture) which supports NFC. The one phone that is bound to launch on all three networks? iPhone5.
Tenuous, but feasible?
More at the O2 Blog
So iPhone 4 was announced on 7th June and we only have to wait until the 24th in the UK to get hold of one! The fastest handset roll-out by Apple yet!
All 5 UK networks will be stocking the iPhone 4 meaning the biggest competition yet. Interestingly though, O2 have reduced the data allowance from Unlimited to as low as 500mb depending on your tariff. With networks like ‘3’ in the fray, surely this isn’t a good idea? We’ll have to wait and see what the other networks offer…
Ronan Dunn, CEO of O2 in the UK, has released a statement announcing that even 500mb is 2.5 times more than the average iPhone user uses per month. Nothing to be too worried about then. Unless you watch a lot of YouTube, that is.
O2 will be upgrading all customers who want an iPhone 4 early – as long as you pay £20 for every month you have left on your minimum term contract. Much better than last year and cheaper than AT&T in the States – Bravo for that move, O2.
The new Blackberry Pearl has finally been seen in public and rumour has it that it’s 3G!
What isn’t different is the now normal OS 5.0 as seen on the Javelin 8900 and Bold 2. However what has been improved is a smooth action and near zero delay in opening Apps – courtesy of the responsive optical pad and 624MHz processor.
As usual with the Pearl range there are bound to be lovers and haters of the keyboard layout. For those haters there is another option – the affor-mentioned Bold 2. For those looking for a Nokia Classic-esque feel to a mid-range Smartphone, then this is your baby. Also (undoubtedly network dependent) is the choice of TWO keyboard layouts! (See below image).
- 802.11n WiFi support (in addition to 802.11b/g)
- 3.2 megapixel camera
- 256MB of internal storage with microSD expansion up to 32GB
- HSDPA with Quadband GSM / EDGE
- 360 x 400 Display
Rumoured coming to the UK May-June.
So yet again Telefonica O2 get exclusive rights to another high profile handset in the UK, presumably setting its competitors even further back in the dust. How will they combat O2 this time? One can only guess. In the mean time O2 will undoubtedly prosper even further from an ever increasing market share of customers flocking for the handsets that everyone wants, the Apple iPhone range and now Palm’s very own Pre. Coming to a store near you on the 16th October 2009, only 2 days after O2 Germany launch their own exclusive on the handset.
With the continuing rumours of O2 losing the older 8GB iPhone to other networks later this year, will O2 even care? With their portfolio now so strong that whichever network do pick up the lower model, they will only to be seen to be picking up the scraps that O2 left behind?
Press Release: [O2.com]
Consumer Site: [Telefonica O2]
Well I have to say I’m surprised to learn that Tito Jackson will be the first member of the family to cash in on his brother Michael’s death.
In what is billed as a ‘tribute concert’ Tito will perform some Wacko songs, Jackson 5 songs, and – yep you guessed it – some new material he has been working on. What good timing for his first solo effort! (To be released globally this year) Anyone would think it had been planned…
Ticket sales will range from £40 to £50… Seriously! Its Tito for gods sake! Its not as if Michael will be resurrected and play along side him. If this event was truly ‘for the fans’ then surely it would be free for the people who spent good money on the original Jackson gigs at the O2 Arena that obviously didn’t go ahead! Secondly I think it’d be a good idea to have a minimum donation style ticket offer for anyone else. Lets say £15/$30? That’s a reasonable price to see someone who hasn’t really done anything (other than reality TV) since his early 20’s!
Source: [Sky News]