O2 have applied for a 4G Licence in the UK via the ongoing 4G auction for which there are 7 bidders – each of whom have paid a £100K non-refundable application fee. EE ( which owns Orange and T-Mobile ) have already launched 4G in a number of cities as they were given a concession to launch 4G ahead of its rivals.
O2 will not be legally able to launch its own 4G network until the 4G auction concludes in March but we anticipate the earliest O2 can physically launch its 4G network will be sometime around May / June.
O2 have recently appointed Nokia Siemens Networks to upgrade its 2G ( GSM ) and 3G ( HSPA ) networks to 4G LTE ( 4G ). The 4G network upgrade will begin in London and the South East of England. O2 say they are expecting a rapid launch of 4G once they get the necessary 4G Licence from Ofcom.
O2 undertook a 4G trial in London which lasted 12 months and had hundreds of consumers and businesses taking part. This proved very successful according to O2.
It looks to us that O2 will obviously launch its 4G network in the London first and then move out across the South East of England before launching in other areas of the UK. Nokia Siemens Networks will provide its high-capacity 4G Liquid Radio solution combined with the well proven Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Stations supported by a NetAct network management system.
“We’re investing in our network now to ensure we’re able to make 4G available to our customers as soon as possible following next year’s spectrum auctions,” said Andrew Conway, Head of Mobile Access for O2. “Our choice of vendor was based on the positive experiences we’ve had implementing Nokia Siemens Networks’ Liquid Radio solution in our network.”
4G.co.uk note that this is the first real news we have heard of O2 physically rolling out its 4G network and await to hear more.