June 29, 2012

4G Campaign Comes Under Fire

4G Britain campaign has already been attacked by rival operators.

4G Britain campaign has already been attacked by rival operators.

Everything Everywhere’s 4G Britain campaign has already been attacked by rival operators who say that the operator is not being clear with the public about what the campaign is really about. The 4G Britain campaign was launched on Monday 30 April, amid claims that the implementation of 4G services could protect or create 125,000 jobs in the UK and add as much as 0.5% to the UK’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). There are also claims that it could encourage as much as £5.5bn of private investment in the economy. The new website for the 4G Britain Campaign lists support from the likes of Virgin Media and Huawei.

Olaf Swantee, CEO of Everything Everywhere, said: ‘The UK has the highest levels of smartphone penetration and mobile commerce in Europe’ and added that the British people deserved to have the best possible infrastructure in order to support this growth.

But the operator’s rivals said it had not made it clear to the public on the website that if Ofcom gives it the go-ahead to refarm its 1800MHz spectrum it could be the first company to launch 4G.

One operator said: ‘There’s nothing wrong with involving the public in the campaign but it needs to be clear what the campaign is for. It wants a headstart on 1800MHz.’ He added that while it was
okay that it held that position, it should be honest about what its position was.

Another operator commented that the research conducted by Capital Economics on behalf of Everything Everywhere was founded on there being a widespread implementation of 4G.

Vodafone had been asked to join the campaign ‘at the last minute’ said a spokesman, but declined, because it believes threshold be a level playing field for the 4G rollout.

Vodafone added that it was already asking the Government and regulator [Ofcom] to ensure that everyone is able to launch the new technology as quickly as possible and that there should be a competitive market for 4G as there is in Europe.

While Everything Everywhere is understood to believe Vodafone may make an application to re farm some of its own spectrum holding, the Vodafone spokesman dismissed this, saying that Everything Everywhere’s claim that operators are also able to launch 4G services ‘conveniently forgets’ that Everything Everywhere have control of more than 83% of the mobile spectrum in the frequency band that Ofcom is looking to vary.

‘Other operators are using their more limited spectrum holdings to serve current customers so they cannot clear it as quickly as Everything Everywhere,’ said the spokesman. ‘Therefore, we believe the introduction of 4G should be linked to the availability of suitable amounts of cleared spectrum for other players.’