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September 14, 2012

O2 negotiating with Ofcom to bring forward 4G spectrum auction timeline

O2's move is to defend against competition from EE

By CBR Staff Writer

UK’s mobile phones and broadband provider O2 is negotiating with communications regulator Ofcom to push the timeline of the 4G auction forward, in a bid to beat off competition from rival brand EE.

O2’s move follows Apple’s confirmation that its new iPhone 5 will only support EE’s anticipated rollout of4G LTE network, operating on 1800MHz spectrum.

An O2 spokesman was quoted by Computerworld UK as saying: "Yes, we are in discussions to bring the timeline forward."

EE, the new 4G brand from Everything Everywhere, the parent group of mobile operators Orange and T-Mobile, has been approved to use its current 1800MHz spectrum to release 4G services in the UK in 2012, prior to its rivals, awaiting the purchase in an auction in December.

It is anticipated that O2 and Vodafone would petition Ofcom to enable them to reclaim the 3G band for offering 4G services.

According to a survey, about a quarter of mobile phone users have planned to upgrade to 4G services in future.

About 52% of the surveyed were not willing to switch until the launch of 4G on their existing network, while 58% were not interested in purchasing a 4G handset.

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EE has assured complete outdoor coverage for 4G by 2014, while Vodafone reported to the BBC that it will offer complete indoor coverage by 2015.

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