O2 Whispering With Ofcom to Bring Forward the 4G Spectrum Auction

By Jon Partridge on at

While Ofcom said that the 4G-spectrum auction would be delayed 'til next year, in the wake of EE's LTE fun, O2 has been said to be chatting to the independent regulator over a candlelit dinner. It wants to bring forward the 4G-spectrum auction, in an attempt to fight off competition from the Orange and T-Mobile partnership.

Fresh from the reveal that the iPhone 5 would support LTE on EE's network, which operates on 1800MHz spectrum, O2 has said to Computerworld UK: "Yes, we are in discussions to bring the timeline forward."

EE was granted approval to use its existing 1800MHz spectrum to launch 4G services in the UK this year, several months earlier than any of its rivals, which sounds like it has definitely tickled the big providers the wrong way. Especially if its seen that EE is the only network offering 4G services, which would then attract a bevy of customers, all of whom will be signing up for 24 month contracts.

While those wanting to get some 4G magic with other providers with their new iPhone 5, they'll be out of luck, unfortunately, as Apple's device does not support the 800MHz and 2.6GHz auctioned spectrum. However, O2 for example, would be able to offer 4G services to other devices, meaning speedy 4G for those who dabble in the Android or Windows Phone side of things.

And to shake things up even more, EE has agreed to sell 2X15MHz of its 1800MHz spectrum to Three. And while the smallest network provider in the UK hasn't yet said if they intend to use this spectrum for 4G services on the iPhone, it could be a possibility that will surely grind some gears with Vodafone and O2 come September 2013.

With the spectrum auction still slated for December at the earliest, and network providers fighting each other over legal issues, it looks like all the providers will have to get everything all sorted if they want to play catch-up to EE's LTE rollout; not to mention O2's wishes to have the spectrum auction moved forward too. [Macworld]

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