Peace Breaks Out in 4G War as Spring 2013 Launch Now Certain

By Gary Cutlack on at

The big buffet lunch enjoyed by the mobile network operators, the government and regulator Ofcom yesterday has yielded some important results, with the main mobile networks agreeing a formal timetable for a full launch of 4G in the UK.

The key development is that O2 and Vodafone have dropped their threats to derail EE's early 4G launch with legal action, which should mean the planned launch of the UK's initial LTE service ought to be on track to start hitting the market in the coming weeks.

In return for letting EE steal an early march on 4G, Ofcom has agreed to speed up the spectrum auction and allocation plans, which should enable the other UK mobile networks to get their own 4G services up and running as soon as the spring of 2013.

Ofcom's taking the credit for the condensed timetable, saying it convinced TV broadcast managers to release their 4G-friendly analogue frequencies a little earlier in many critical coverage zones, resulting in 4G spectrum becoming available in parts of the country between three and five months sooner than initially planned.

So you might want to rethink your current phone upgrade plans. [Ofcom]