Mobile network Everything Everywhere (EE) has announced plans to rollout 4G services to its customers before the end of 2012, subject to regulatory approval.
EE is hoping that communications regulator Ofcom will grant it permission to use its 1800Mhz spectrum to provide 4G services, following a trial that is due to take place in Bristol in April.
It claims that the trial will provide EE with “key learnings” on the performance of 4G LTE over its existing 1800Mhz spectrum.
However, even if Ofcom grants EE approval, not all of its customers will benefit from the faster services immediately. An EE spokesperson confirmed that the rollout of 4G services will occur on a “region by region” basis, and no details of timelines could be provided.
EE is also undergoing a nationwide upgrade to its current 3G technology, where it is rolling out HSPA+ 21 across its network.
According to the mobile operator it has already upgraded 60 percent of the network, and is due to complete in the third quarter of 2012. HSPA+ 21 should enable EE customers to receive an estimated 50 percent increase in data download speeds, and up to 100 per cent faster upload speeds.
EE is also planning trials of HSPA+ 42, which offers faster speeds than that of HSPA+ 21, in the second quarter of this year, with a goal to roll out the technology to customers in the fourth quarter of 2012.
“Everything Everywhere’s vision is to launch 4G for Britain as soon as possible, and the roll out of 3.5G HSPA+ and our 4G trials across Britain are major steps towards delivering on that promise,” said Olaf Swanteee, CEO at Everything Eveywhere.
“Subject to regulatory approval by the spring, Everything Everywhere will be in a position to begin the roll out of 4G before the end of the year,” he added.
“There is a great opportunity for the UK to have the 21st Century network that it so deserves, putting the nation on a level playing field with other parts of Europe, the USA and Asia”.
The UK’s 4G spectrum auction has been riddled with problems in recent months, with Ofcom facing legal challenges from the network operators around the rules of the spectrum sale. It has been delayed numerous times but is now set for the fourth quarter of 2012.
It was also announced this week that mobile operators are going to have to spend up to £180 on implementing solutions for households that experience intereference with their digital terrestrial TV as a result of the 4G rollout.
Three, Vodafone, O2 and Ofcom were not able to provide comment at the time of publication.