Ofcom has said mobile operator Everything Everywhere (EE) can reuse its existing 1800MHz spectrum, previously used for 2G, for next generation 4G LTE and WiMAX technology.
The firm intends to vary EE’s 1800MHz licence to allow it to be used for 4G services and is accepting comments on the proposal until 17 April. EE is due to trial the 1800MHz spectrum for 4G in Bristol starting in April.
Ofcom said, "Allowing Everything Everywhere to reuse its spectrum in this way is likely to bring material benefits to consumers, including faster mobile broadband speeds and – depending on how Everything Everywhere uses the spectrum – potentially wider mobile broadband coverage in rural areas."
The regulator said that if it were to vary EE’s license it would mean it would be the only provider of 4G for some time and this could “risk of distortion to competition”. However, Ofcom said that it doesn’t consider the move a risk to competition with rivals.
Ofcom said, "As our view is that there is no material risk of a distortion of competition if EE is permitted now to use the 1800MHz band to deploy LTE and/or WiMAX technologies, we propose to vary EE's 1800 MHz licences as soon as practicable, subject to this consultation."
This is a positive step towards getting 4G rolled out across the UK, catching up with places like the US which already has a 4G LTE network. Apple’s recently announced iPad comes with 4G capabilities but this is useless in the UK at the moment.