Super-fast 4G services set for 2013

Posted by Shazy on Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Super-fast 4G services set for 2013


Broadband-speed internet on your mobile phone: Super-fast 4G services set for 2013

Licences for high-frequency analogue TV bandwidth could raise billions
Broadband-speed mobile network will be available in all corners of Britain
Britain already behind U.S. and Japan who have 4G networks
Hopes that 4G could raise as much as sale of 3G for £22.5bn
Licences for the latest generation of mobile internet – capable of delivering broadband speed to phones on the go – will be auctioned for billions of pounds in a year’s time, it emerged today.

Fourth-generation (4G) services, offering fast connections to British smartphones, laptops and tablet computers, will use the wireless spectrum historically used by analogue TV.

The government could raise huge sums by selling the rights to use the high frequencies between 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz, which are being switched off broadcasting as digital is rolled out.

The auction of 3G licences in 2000 raised a remarkable £22.5billion for the Government from phone companies.

Telecoms regulator Ofcom today revealed the auction will be held in the first quarter of 2012 and 4G services should be available from 2013.

Part of the condition of the sale is that phone users in 95 per cent of Britain will be able to gain access to 4G with ‘uniformity of coverage’.

Currently, a tenth of the country is not served by broadband and a digital divide is further enforced by slow connection speeds in many rural areas.

Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said: ‘It is the latest generation of mobile technology. It will offer services which offer more capacity and better coverage of mobile broadband services.

‘That is what we expect this spectrum to be used for, but we are preparing an auction that will offer it on a neutral basis.

‘It offers much better data services and therefore all the kind of things you can get on your broadband at home or in your office and that you aspire to do through your smartphone or tablet computer and so forth, that is exactly what 4G services will enable.’

He added: ‘This is fantastically important spectrum for the future of our economy.

‘It is 80 per cent more spectrum than was offered in 3G in 2000 and it will be a crucial raw material for the future of the modern economy.’

The auction will cover two significant spectrum bands within the so-called ‘sweet spot’ which is most suitable for mobile communications - 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz. It is equivalent to three-quarters of the mobile spectrum that is in use today.
Ofcom said 4G will be ideally suited for wide bandwidth data services such as video streaming, email, messenger services, GPS and mapping services and social networking sites.

Mr Richards told BBC Radio 4 Today Programme: ‘The auction is not only critical to the future of the UK mobile telecommunications market but it is also of significant importance to the wider economy.

‘It will support a wide range of data services that are fast becoming essential features of the modern world.

Our role as the independent regulator is to award this spectrum in a way that secures the best use of the spectrum for the benefit of citizens and consumers in the UK.

‘That is why we are proposing to design the auction in a way that not only encourages investment but also promotes competition and delivers wide coverage of services.’

The move to 4G is necessary because smartphones such as the iPhone, Google Android and tablet devices are squeezing what’s left of available bandwidth.

Ofcom has even allowed mobile phone carriers such as Vodafone and O2 to use parts of the old 2G network until more of the spectrum is made available.

Also, Britain is falling behind of countries such as the U.S. and Japan, which already have 4G networks, though they work in different ways.

The biggest American mobile phone companies - Verizon Wireless and AT&T - back a 4G network powered by Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology.

Verizon launched its LTE network in December, promising speeds up to 10 times faster than its current 3G network. It is planning full nationwide coverage by 2013.

AT&T this week bought T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom for $39billionn (£24billion), creating the largest US wireless network.

Hopes that the British sale of 4G could raise similar sums to the 2000 auction could be misplaced, though, say experts.

The German government raised 50bn euros (£43.6bn) at its 3G auction in 2000, but managed to raise only 4.3bn euros at its 4G auction last year.

Companies such as Vodafone, which made the biggest bid of £5.96billion for a slice of the 3G bandwidth, were also criticised after they failed to invest in infrastructure afterwards.

It means telecoms firms will this time want to save some cash for installations to support the new network.

Source: Dailymail