Vodafone and O2 announced this week that their joint venture has been given a green light by The Office for Fair Trading (OFT) and Ofcom.
The two companies will remain separate entities but will soon start sharing their existing 2G and 3G radio masts. It is expected that this will also expedite plans for their upcoming 4G network.
This alliance is likely a reaction to the EE (Everything Everywhere) partnership. EE is the umbrella brand from T-Mobile and Orange (although their 2G network is also used by Three). It was set up in the same vein; to share existing infrastructure and plan together for the next.
EE recently announced that 4G coverage will be starting from the 30th October and will start in Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield, followed by Belfast, Derby, Hull, Nottingham, Newcastle and Southampton by the end of the year.
The reason EE are ahead in the game is down to spare bandwidth they already own. In August Ofcom allowed the conversion of a section of their existing 3G spectrum to 4G, a decision that raised the question of legal action from some of EE’s rivals. This has now been put to rest as the UK 4G auction has been brought forward to next spring, when other operators will be able to buy a section of the radio spectrum. These radio frequencies are those freed up in the switch from analog to digital television.
Vodafone and O2 must be hoping their alliance will mean they can buy a sizable share of the 4G spectrum, saving both companies money and proving beneficial to their customers as well. If this happens their predicted coverage could be as high as 98% of the country – although that might yet be some time off.
Next year should be an exciting time for mobile connectivity. The adoption of 4G may involve a wait for the customer depending on where they live, but it’s still worth keeping in mind next time you are looking to upgrade your phone or tariff.
(Source: The Guardian)
Epicentre Says: “While mobile broadband speeds may or may not have a firsthand affect on your mobile app or website’s performance, the growth of 4G coverage could still be a governing force in which devices consumers buy over the next few years. As always Epicentre is keeping a close eye on developments, and is ready to support your testing needs – whether it’s bandwidth or devices that concern you.” writemypaper4me.org