Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fast 4G Mobile Broadband Set for Oct 2012 UK Launch

4G LTE Mobile BroadbandEverything Everywhere is set to launch a 4G mobile broadband service in the UK, perhaps as early as October 2012. This follows a decision by Ofcom to allow the company to use its surplus 1,800MHz radio spectrum, created during the merger of T-Mobile and Orange, for the new 4G service. Other potential providers such as Vodafone, Three and O2 will have to wait for a further radio spectrum auction in early 2013 to be able to roll out their services at the end of 2013; naturally they are rather displeased that Ofcom has given Everything Everywhere such a big first mover advantage, and they may even take legal action against the regulator.

However, it's good news for technology enthusiasts, as 4G mobile broadband is expected to initially bring mobile broadband speeds of 20Mbps, roughly ten times faster than a good 3G connection. With further enhancements to the network, speeds of 50Mbps should be possible, perhaps one day reaching 300Mbps. The LTE (Long Term Evolution) technlogy behind 4G mobile broadband should also greatly reduce mobile broadband latency (the lag you get when you view a page), and cope better with high network load. Whilst real world speeds are yet to be experienced, small scale trial speeds have been very good. Hopefully 4G mobile broadband will live up to expectations better than 3G did, where real world speeds were always much less than advertised and the service often struggled under capacity constraints. The technology behind 4G is already in use in the latest WiFi and digital TV transmissions, which gives some cause for optimism. 

4G services could be available as early as October 2012, although no product release dates are yet available. Users will need to buy new 4G mobiles or mobile broadband dongles as new radio technologies are involved, so existing products cannot be upgraded. A key factor in the Ofcom decision to let Everything Everywhere go ahead was that there are already more than 80 countries which have operational 4G networks, and it didn't want to see Britain lag further behind. 4G brings the prospect of the mobile web becoming as powerful as home broadband services, and data intensive activities such as video streaming and online gaming should work well. So, whilst Everything Everywhere's new licence isn't good news for the other operators, it's certainly good news for those who like to use the internet on the go. You can view this 4G mobile broadband FAQ for further information.


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