Mobile phone operator Three could be next in line to launch a 4G network in the UK, months ahead of rivals.
According to reports from CNET, a spokesman for the company told the publication that it could launch 4G on the same 1800MHz band as EE before Vodafone and O2 launch theirs.
EE, which was formed when Orange and T-Mobile merged in the UK was given the go ahead to launch a 4G network on the 1800MHz band it owned by Ofcom. It was allowed to do this instead of waiting for an auction next year of the airwaves in the 800MHz and 2600MHz spectrum.
As part of the deal with Ofcom, EE had to sell part of its 1800MHz spectrum to rival Three. This means that Three has the potential to launch a 4G network in the country sooner than O2 and Vodafone.
However, the fly in the ointment is one of permission. Another part of the deal between EE and Three was that EE has to give Three permission to use the spectrum Three now owns before a 4G launch.
With EE launching its 4G network yesterday, it is no particular hurry to gift Three a head start over the other two mobile firms. Or to lessen its commercial advantage.
Bidding for the other 4G spectrum starts in January which could see operators fire up 4G network for their customers as soon as May next year.
Regardless of whether or not Three starts a 4G network, its spokesman told the publication that it questioned whether consumers would get much benefit from a 4G service and touted a technology called DC-HSDPA, which is an improvement on current 3G technology which gives download speeds of 12Mbps, just shy of 4G’s 14Mbps. Three has suggested that 4-6Mbps is good enough for most consumers.