Telecoms watchdog Ofcom has given the go-ahead for mobile operator Everything Everywhere to launch 4G mobile services on the firm’s existing 2G spectrum.
The move means that EE brands Orange and T-Mobile will be free to offer 4G LTE services on the 1800MHz band. "Given the benefits this would bring to consumers, Ofcom is minded to allow this change of use," the watchdog explained.
Ofcom’s green light represents some good news for the mobile operator after the regulator had earlier dropped conditions from the upcoming 4G spectrum auction that would guarantee EE a slice of the valuable 800MHz spectrum.
Arrival of 4G in the 1800MHz spectrum is also in line with the European Commission’s Radio Spectrum Policy which advocates the 1800MHz band, in addition to the upcoming bands in the UK auction, as common frequencies for interoperability of equipment across the Eurozone.
Naturally mobile rivals will not be best pleased by the decision which will allow EE to launch 4G services this year, possibly up to a year ahead of their own 4G services. Rivals such as O2 and Vodafone need to wait to discover exactly what spectrum they win at the auction scheduled for later this year.
"Interested parties have four weeks in which to submit their views on this proposed change," Ofcom said. So we’d expect much squealing and legal threats from the usual suspects.