The UK has been waiting a long time for 4G. Though many of today's high-end phones come with support for 4G LTE, customers in the United Kingdom are losing out. Telecoms watchdog Ofcom just gave Everything Everywhere the go-ahead to roll out its own 4G LTE network ahead of competitors, but everyone else is stuck waiting for the spectrum auction that will provide them with the extra spectrum required to launch their own 4G services. Even then, mobile operators are threatening litigation over concerns that they'll get the short end of the stick in terms of spectrum allocation.
It now emerged that O2, Vodafone, Everything Everywhere and Three have banded together to speed up the deployment of 4G services. Ofcom writes that the four have come together to form Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited (originally called MitCo), a company that will be funded by the successful bidders for 800MHz spectrum in the forthcoming auction. If any other party acquires spectrum in the auction, they can immediately become a shareholder in DMS Ltd.
The company will be responsible for ensuring consumers continue to receive clear Freeview TV signals following the roll out of 4G mobile services in the 800 MHz spectrum band. The early creation of such a company was one of the solutions highlighted by Ofcom and the government during conversations with mobile operators about speeding up the roll-out of 4G.
The UK's first 4G network, run by Everything Everywhere via repurposed spectrum that it already owns, will launch by the end of October. Other networks will have to wait until next year before they can roll out competing technology.