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UK government minister blames carriers for slow 4G roll out

updated 07:52 am EDT, Thu June 21, 2012

4G auction delays due to threats of litigation

The blame for the slow creation of a 4G network in the UK lies with carriers, according to a government minister. Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, told the Future of Entertainment summit in London that repeated legal threats to Ofcom from mobile service providers are causing delays, as opposed to government interference. Vaizey referred to the continued problems Ofcom faces from carriers, saying "Every single one is threatening to sue, not Ofcom, if they get it wrong, which is continuing to prolong the roll out of 4G in Britain."

Earlier this year, Ofcom signaled to Everything Everywhere to reuse part of its 1,800MHz spectrum from 2G to run its own LTE service, ahead of the LTE auctions. The deal was then delayed by Ofcom after pressure from other networks, giving more of an opportunity to complain about Orange and T-Mobile gaining LTE before anyone else is able to, calling it an unfair advantage in the market. Everything Everywhere is still hoping to launch its LTE by the end of 2012, in addition to any further spectrum it gains in the scheduled auction.

The other networks also fear that if Everything Everywhere sued Ofcom, it would delay competitors in launching their own LTE efforts after the auctions. This would give Everything Everywhere a temporary monopoly of LTE coverage in the UK, effectively shutting other carriers out of the market. Speaking to Pocket-lint, Everything Everywhere has advised that it has "no appetite for litigation against Ofcom. We haven't threatened Ofcom with litigation at any stage in this auction process," and calling for commercial LTE to be rolled out sooner rather than later, claiming that the UK is behind 38 other countries in terms of LTE roll-out.

Vodafone, Three, and O2 have all been contacted for comment on the story. [via The Inquirer]



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