Ofcom, the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries has proposed to extend 4G coverage across 98 per cent of the UK and to begin the 4G auction amongst networks as early as Q4 2012. This could mean 4G internet as early as Q1 2013 here in the UK, and offer greater coverage than is currently available on 3G.
Estimating an increase in mobile data use of 500 per cent, Ofcom appear to have recognised the impending need for faster web with smartphone, tablet and mobile dongle usage on the up.
With streaming video services such as iPlayer and SkyGo allowing streaming over Wi-Fi and Netflix extending its roots here in the UK, HD 4G will make tasks like HD streaming a much more painless process.
As found on Ofcom’s official website, a series of proposals have been outlined. The first of these includes obliging networks to roll out 4G network to 98 per cent of the UK population. This means even areas which are currently mobile dead-zones may receive the new, super-fast mobile internet.
In addition Ofcom state that they reserve the right to ensure “at least four operators may have sufficient spectrum to be credible national wholesalers of future mobile services,” with the obvious candidates being, O2, Everything Everywhere (Orange and T-Mobile), Three and Vodafone.
With the auctions expected to begin sooner than originally anticipated and coverage extending beyond levels of 2G coverage, this only bodes well for the consumer and if networks are swift with their rollout, should mean 4G is less than a year away.
The auction for the UK’s 4G spectrum was originally due to take place in the first quarter of 2012; later it was pushed back to the first half. Now the auction has been pushed back again, not due to begin until the last quarter.