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back to article Everything Everywhere bags 4G monopoly in UK - for now

Everything Everywhere, the UK's largest mobile operator, will get a monopoly on 4G services in the UK, starting on 11 September and lasting at least until next year's spectrum mega-auction. EE, which owns the Orange and T-Mobile networks, has been lobbying hard for the decision, over which Ofcom has been faffing for nine months …

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Mushroom

Legal Action

Bet Vodafone, O2 and 3 will be calling their lawyers in an attempt to delay this.....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Legal Action

Or Apple will be getting their lawyers out too. I'm sure they might have some 4G infringing patients sitting somewhere in their closet.

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Re: Legal Action

Not in the UK, where as far as I understand it the frequency that 4G will be running on is not the same as the USA 4g, and therefore the new iSpad is not going to be 4G compatable in the UK, (or for that matter most of the world)

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Re: Legal Action

The current 4G iPads - there are two different ones, as different networks in the US operate LTE on different frequencies - are US only. However, it seems pretty clear that the key LTE frequencies in the rest of the world - initially at first - are going to be at 1.8GHz (as EE are building at) and 2.6GHz, which has been reserved in a lot of places but not allocated all that widely yet. Apple will *of course* produce iPad and iPhone variants to support these non-US frequencies. Apple is certainly going to announce a new iPhone early next month and is probably going to announce a new iPad mini at the same time. It is very likely in my opinion that they will produce an "international" variant of this that will work with this new EE network. It is fairly likely that they will produce a variant of the new iPad mini that supports it, too.

It may be that people who want the full size variant iPad to work with it will have to wait until February for that though.

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Anonymous Coward

Where it should act, it doesnt, and where not necessary, it bends over and opens wide.

Wonder if any backhanders involved!

Or wining and dining on a Yacht somewhere in the Med.

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Unhappy

If you have ever been to Ofcomm HQ you know they can keep an eye on their yachts parked out on the river with the best views in London. Plus their bathrooms you can not only bendover in style but swing a catamaran or two.

You need to understand they live in another world apart from those that have to live with their decisions.

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Whats the point when their FUP is not very fair?

I'm guessing that an 'unlimited' 4G data plan from EE will be on the expensive side and not very 'unlimited'.

How quickly will it take somebody on a 4g contract to whizz past the FUP on an unlimited contract and get charged gazzilions over and above their monthly fee?

It would be nice if I got a decent 3g service where I live, I tried a Orange 3G dongle once, I had to try it from the front bedroom to get the best signal, it managed a paltry 160k download speed. Do you think 4G will fair better?

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Bronze badge
Stop

Re: Whats the point when their FUP is not very fair?

Bear with me as I'm not an expert at this but please correct me if inaccurate.

As I understand it, Orange's 3G frequency is 1800MHz? They (as part of Everything Everywhere) have been granted permission to use the 1800MHz frequency for 4G, so assuming they use the same mast in your area, I would imagine that reception would be the same as it is for 3G. So in your case it would still be awful.

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FAIL

Well this is a very interesting outcome. Thing is my contract is up with O2 and i was about to sign up to another 12 month deal. But now I know that EE has at least an 18month head start I might go with them (4G phone availability dependent). I can see however that this is not fair on the operators that do not have this flexibility tbh I think they should be forced to share their network with their rivals until the auction has been concluded and rival networks setup or the auction should be brought forward to say tomorrow. Some of the spectrum must surely be free already.

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Bronze badge

Network sharing

At "sane" rates is required.

Of course how you define "sane" is anyone's guess....

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Silver badge

Are you really going to need/use 4G, or do you just want it because it is new and shiny?

Personally I often leave my phone on 2G, trading data-rate for single strength and battery longevity.

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Trollface

"The regulator has shown a careless disregard for the... wider economy."

Said £6 Billion Pound Tax Dodgers Vodafone.

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Headmaster

Tax Dodging _IS_ showing regard for the wider economy

As Henry Hazlitt said so long ago...

Taxes discourage production

"There is a still further factor which makes it improbable that the wealth created by government spending will fully compensate for the wealth destroyed by the taxes imposed to pay for that spending. It is not a simple question, as so often supposed, of taking something out of the nation’s right-hand pocket to put into its left-hand pocket. The government spenders tell us, for example, that if the national income is $1,500 billion then federal taxes of $360 billion a year would mean that only 24 percent of the national income is being transferred from private purposes to public purposes. This is to talk as if the country were the same sort of unit of pooled resources as a huge corporation, and as if all that were involved were a mere bookkeeping transaction. The government spenders forget that they are taking the money from A in order to pay it to B. Or rather, they know this very well but while they dilate upon all the benefits of the process to B, and all the wonderful things he will have which he would not have had if the money had not been transferred to him, they forget the effects of the transaction on A. B is seen; A is forgotten."

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HMB

Vodafone Tax Dodgers

Isn't there something here about David Cameron declaring how immoral and unjust David Cameron is or something?

Government is supposed to pour scorn on Jimmy Carr and Google, but not do anything about the loopholes. Yes, that was it.

I'm sure the HMRC boss who gave Vodafone £6 billion off paid for it out of his wages, so it's all cool.

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Silver badge

Re: Tax Dodging _IS_ showing regard for the wider economy

And in the real world, corporations are piling up cash stocks while firing workers.

So yes - let them keep all the money. They'll only hand it to workers because they're nice like that.

Meanwhile cut essential services and infrastructure investment because 'government can't afford them.'

Idiot.

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Silver badge

Re: Tax Dodging _IS_ showing regard for the wider economy

Henry Hazlitt was clearly a wanker of the first water if he came out with that pile of crap.

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Stop

Re: Hazlitt quote

Yes but what do YOU think?

What about the possibility, if those with the highest incomes aren't taxed more, they're more likely to remove their money from the economy (i.e. save it), whereas taxing them a bit more and giving it to lower earners, effectively flattens the effective rate of tax (given that the latter pay more and retain less partly due to regressive taxation elsewhere, and due to them barely breaking even in their household expenditures), and also increases overall monetary velocity, leading to greater economic growth, confidence, and transaction levels?

I think Galbraith pretty much blew out of the water, the economic prudence of low taxes on the wealthy, when he argued excessive concentration of wealth led in large part to the great depression, due to the economy having become too dependent on investment and luxury goods spending, which ceased when the wealthy got frightened - that such a low-tax policy would lead to excessive volatility and low confidence levels.

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Not really interested in this considering Orange cannot even give me a 1 bar 3g connection on my phone and I live, less that 1 mile from my nearest mast.

Change to Virgin Mobile and I get full signal on the H+ connection.

What was even funnier though is, I had abit of time the other day before a survey had to be done so I sat in my car eating my lunch and thought I would watch TVcatchup on my brand new S3, with a Orange sim card in it and it gave me a full H+ connection but, I couldn't surf the net let alone watch tv, but my Desire on Virgin on a H connection would allow me to, and now my Micro Sim has arrived from Virgin I can watch it on my S3 at nearly anywhere but on Orange I couldn't.

Last time I had a issue with Orange they told me the nearest 3g mast to my house was faulty but, that they were not going to fix it because I was the only person complaining.

If it was not for a decent deal being given to me by Orange for the S3 I would not have upgraded and instead would have cancelled the contract.

As for the other operators complaining about not having 4g yet well maybe they should have worked abit harder and faster to get it working.

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Anonymous Coward

It's about time the mobile infrastructure was divorced from the phone companies. How about everyone is allowed to use all masts regardless of what operator they are with?

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FAIL

RE: Not really interested

Virgin Mobile = T-Mobile network

That means that you are still using Orange due to the roaming between Orange and T-Mobile.

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Paris Hilton

If mast sharing was required then you would get consolidation of the mast management (ala EE), however eventually coverage would become a non-competing factor and a price war would ensue. The price war would reduce margins for the operators and they would stop investing in improving the infrastructure. Thus coverage might get a bit improved but performance in the network would not and could even fall back in some areas.

I cite as evidence: rural broadband

Paris: because she knows all about sparse coverage

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Anonymous Coward

"Not really interested in this considering Orange cannot even give me a 1 bar 3g connection on my phone and I live, less that 1 mile from my nearest mast.

Change to Virgin Mobile and I get full signal on the H+ connection."

This doesn't make any sense since Virgin Mobile customers roam across both the T-Mobile and Orange networks, in exactly the same way T-Mobile and Orange's customers can roam across the sister network automatically. May well be a hardware issue rather than a network issue,

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Anonymous Coward

Sounds like a sim card issue to me. Request a new one, all will be fine.

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FAIL

doh

thats because others are constrained by spectrum,only reason ee can do 4g is because of all the huge,free spread of spectrum they were GIVEN years ago,even with that,ee are having to use the totaly wrong frequency for 4g,so dont expect much of their service.

technicaly,if i remember correctly,they should not even be calling it 4g.

2100 is the wrong end,thats why everybody else is waiting fo 900 spectrum licence auction.

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Good News

You will be OK with your Orange mast now, 'cos the person who told you that has now been grabbed to run Three "Customer Services".

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Cheeky Vodafone

"The regulator has shown a careless disregard for the best interests of consumers" says Vodafone.

As an ex-customer, I'm fairly confident Vodafone couldn't give a rat's testicle for the best interests of consumers, so it's hard to give much of a toss what they think.

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Devil

Re: Cheeky Vodafone

"The regulator has shown a careless disregard for the best interests of [Vodafone to rip-off] consumers" says Vodafone

There - fixed it.

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Silver badge

Its all down to cost and FUP

If the price is right and unlimited means unlimited then its bye bye home Bb and hello to this.

I get a great signal at home and my contract is up in a couple of months. Just need a SIM and a WiFi router that has 4G built in and I'm set.

If however streaming is not possible etc then I see no point in this as HSPA+ is good enough for streaming at the moment and would only change to be able to use instead of current mobile and home BB.

As to if EE should be allowed to do this, I say why not ? why should we all be limited just to suit some business, its just the same as Apple trying to ban Samsung or Moto trying to ban Apple, it limits my choice for no more reason than it suits the business's.

Bring it on and lets see what the roll out / price etc will be.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Its all down to cost and FUP

No, unlimited doesn't mean unlimited. Even on most wired broadband tariffs, unlimited means nothing of the sort. I'm really at a loss as to why you'd expect it to be any different in this (very pressurised) instance.

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Silver badge

Re: Its all down to cost and FUP

Because I have an unlimited SIM BB card already and I can stream etc all I want without restriction. It was a limited test they did just over a year ago and I got it with a Xoom tablet. Its from talkmobile so uses Vodafone network.

I stream nearly 30 gig during the olympics and had done the same in the past.

4G/LTE is designed for high use like streaming etc, and if its less than £50 a month is worth it to me to replace my BB SIM and home BB as it will be around the same price but have the advantage of much better coverage due to 1800 MHz being better for much longer distances than current 3G plus I can take it anywhere around the house etc without the worry of WiFi signal strength through solid walls.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Its all down to cost and FUP

If you believe a network given a year long exclusive on selling LTE would not milk those fees, caps, tethering add-ons and whathaveyou, I've got a bridge to sell you.

They'll probably charge extra for voice calls over LTE, if that standard ever gets ratified.

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FAIL

Re: Its all down to cost and FUP

so everyone is allowed to do what they like,where they like? i must dust of my illegal afterburn amp and come and sit all evening near your house,night after night,then lets see how keen you are for a broadcast free for all,i'm sure within a week you would be whineing at yer provider to do something about me.

thats why broadcast kit is licenced,to stop morons screwing huge swathes of spectrum for other users.

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FAIL

Re: Its all down to cost and FUP

er,dont get yer hopes up,building penetration at 1800-2100 is crap and if you and think you are going to get unlimited and unrestricted 4g for £50-60 a month,you are living in dreamland.

this will be a heavily restricted/choked service that will cost a lot and will not be able to cope with many subscribers,it is not meant for use by many home consumers,more at stupid business folk with more cash than brains,i would not be surprised if in the near future ee stop taking new subs for 4g due to network problems,dont forget they still have to use their old,slightly upgraded backhaul system from 4g sites,ee do not have a very good record of upgrading add on kit.

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FAIL

There's nothing to see here

It's being implemented by Orange, so that won't work then.

I can happily pass on "GPRS speeds on 4G" until an operator with a clue can launch a service.

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Bronze badge

4G at 1800MHz? Pass..

Is there any real point to deploying 4G in 1800MHz if the auction next year / decade / century (delete as applicable) gives wider availability at a different frequency? I wouldn't be jumping on a 4G bandwagon that means I have to buy a phone that only works on one network. Apart from the auction giving each network the chance to buy a chunk of spectrum surely it would also mean handsets will work on all networks.

This is just a big mess caused by years of petty bickering over who gets to bid on what and who has to give up / sell frequency. Ofcom you have failed spectacularly over and over and now in an effort to get ANY 4G out there you are screwing up all over again.

I keep wondering if there is any point to 4G at all when the main advantage seems to be speed. The current networks running HSPA+ should be capable of much higher speeds than they give but I've never seen over 3.7Mb/s on T-Mobile. I may be remembering incorrectly but I'm sure I read that to classify as 4G (true 4G, not the 4G USA networks get away with) it must be a minimum 100Mb/s. If that's right then it may be worth it.

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Re: 4G at 1800MHz? Pass..

Devices supporting 1800 support 800 and 2600 as well (the manufacturers don't want to limit their potential market) so you won't have a problem there.

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Bronze badge

Re: 4G at 1800MHz? Pass..

Ah well it's a moot point for me anyway. I'm in a two year contract with my HTC One X so when I'm due for an upgrade it should all be sorted and working perfectly!*

*Yeah I don't believe that either.

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Facepalm

VodaFail

Watching the way that they bully OFCOM, HMRC and other firms, I take the comment " careless disregard for the best interests of consumers, businesses and the wider economy " by Vodafone with a pinch of salt and TBH, made me vomit a little inside.

Vodafone currently have a slight competitive advantage with them obtaining effectively free spectrum for 3G use at 900Mhz (along with o2). Everything Everywhere, now have been given a free pass to jump on the 4G bandwagon at 1800Mhz. This leaves poor ThreeUK as the only network that have purchased all of their spectrum holdings that are in use.

Personally, I'd rather have Three launch LTE services as they 'get' the modern consumer.

So as things stand at the moment, in the UK we are moving towards having LTE launched by EE before the rest of the networks can launch at the end of next year. In an ideal world, they'd all launch at the same time but because of the advantages that have been afforded by o2 and Vodafone at 900Mhz - I'm now in agreement with OFCOM and would like to see them launch their LTE services sooner.

A slight spanner was thrown in the works yesterday, with rumours that ThreeUK are in discussions to purchase some of the spectrum that is EE is required to sell-off. If they do, this triggers a change in the conditions of the smallest UK player and means that they'd get less favourable concessions at the main 4G auctions.

Tis all a little bit of a mess.

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WTF?

Re: VodaFail

Try as I might, I'm finding it really fucking hard to have any sympathy whatsoever towards Three.

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Meh

Re: VodaFail

Re: "Try as I might, I'm finding it really fucking hard to have any sympathy whatsoever towards Three"...

They do have a shockingly poor customer service department. That said, their tarriffs that include "unlimited all-you-can-eat data" , do actually mean what they say, and are genuinely unlimited, and all at a price that matches other operators "unlimited but what we actually mean is 500Mb" plans. I have an HTC One X on one of Three's unlimited data plans and it works a treat for streaming music and TV without having to worry about nasty bills or data caps.

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HMB

Three

I second this Three malarkey.

The only time I've had any reason to be annoyed with Three is in Scotland. Everywhere else I've had a great experience. High speeds, no FUP nonsense, 2,000 minutes a month (which has saved me hundreds on the odd heavy month) and I'm paying £25 a month for 1 month SIM only.

I started on BT Cellnet, then Orange, then T-Mobile, then Vodafone and now Three. Three is the first network I've been on where I feel like I'm really getting something exciting and good. I talk without worrying about bills, I use high speed internet wherever I am and when Virgin do something stupid, I use Wifi tethering for backup internet. It all works.

If you think you can handle a SIM without needing tech support, I couldn't suggest better than Three (except in Scotland).

I am however glad that LTE is finally getting the go ahead. I don't see EE doing major back haul improvements to support it, so let the eager jump on EE's network. Let the demand build up, let the phones come out and I'll wait till the truly unlimited package pops out on Three. Getting LTE out there isn't going to make things worse for me.

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Re: VodaFail

"They do have a shockingly poor customer service department."

And that's different from the other operators how?

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Megaphone

Re: Three

It will be interesting to see what happens with the backhaul.

In order to sell 4G they have to upgrade the backhaul in area where people use their phone. In order for EE to sell anything approaching a significant number they are going to have to invest in a huge backhaul upgrade. That will be time consuming. To get to a useful number of masts I expect 6-9 months. For good coverage 24 months?

Assuming my time scales above are correct....the others can start the backhaul upgrade now and by the time they have the spectrum they can launch with decent presence giving EE only a nominal advantage.

Look at sales of 4G in the US. It only happens once the area consumers live in has the technology rolled out effectively. Here is a link to AT&T's map: http://www.att.com/network/

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Anonymous Coward

re.three

then make the most of three while you can,i reckon they will be gone from uk in 5 years if a sensible,fair arrangement is not banged out by this time next year,i believe them when they say there would be no good econimic reason for them to continue in uk,then we would be down to 2 big players,realy good for consumers.

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Re: VodaFail

Three have variable customer service. At its worst, it is truly shocking, yes. On the other hand, I have received decent customer service from them at times too. I agree that as the operators go, they are on the poorer end in this regard.

On the other hand, they have an excellent network and provide really good value for money, which is why I am using them right now.

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Sack Everyone at OfCom - Auctions Must Happen Fast

If they've got the surplus spectrum, then why not use it? If it benefits everyone, then why protest? Buy some of it off them if you want a piece of the action.

One other good thing for consumers that may come out of this move.. hopefully the charges won't be so high from EE since they haven't had to spend a shed load on licences this time round.

This is better than nothing & will stop the UK falling further behind.

The regulator needs to be FIRED for taking years to make this happen.

http://www.ofcom.org.uk/about/...

They have a responsibility to keep the UK at the forefront of technology, they have FAILED.

The auction should have happened years ago. It is up to them to brush any problems aside & make it happen.

If this process isn't fixed the UK will become uncompetitive on the world stage, and fall behind technologically. 4G is vital infrastructure to innovation.

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HMB

Re: Sack Everyone at OfCom - Auctions Must Happen Fast

Don't sack everyone, just the ones with anything to do with management. Then re-allocate them to road cleaning duties around the UK. Their familiarity with rubbish should make them ideal candidates and it will give them the opportunity to finally clear something up.

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Silver badge

Re: Sack Everyone at OfCom - Auctions Must Happen Fast

You do realize that until recently the spectrum was used for analogue tv don't you....

They could hardly have sold it years ago. Even now there are still things to sort out re overlapping signals etc. Only EE with the 1800 Mhz can roll out straight away without problems. Its just a question of what they need to replace mast wise etc that will limit the speed of rool out. I have read that they will have 4G dongles by the end of the year so looks good to me.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sack Everyone at OfCom - Auctions Must Happen Fast

surely OFCOM could have auctioned the 800Mhz and 2600Mhz spectrum a year or two ago, with a proviso that 800Mhz could only be used once analogue TV was turned off?

assuming the shiny new iPhone 5 arrives with LTE support (presumably either a Euro-version that supports 800/2600 or a global one that supports half a dozen different bands) people will start wailing for LTE. If there's a version that runs on 1800Mhz then EE will be the cat that got the cream.

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FAIL

Re: Sack Everyone at OfCom - Auctions Must Happen Fast

we have known for ten years that spectrum would become vacant in 2012,the auction could have taken place anytime in the last decade,with clause to say no network could be turned on before so and so dates,this does not affect build outs and backhaul upgrades.

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