Everything Everywhere launches 4G lobbying campaign
Published Apr 30 2012, 10:56 BST | By Andrew Laughlin Everything Everywhere
has stepped up its lobbying campaign for 4G data services to launch early in the UK, despite ongoing opposition from other mobile operators.
The company, formed following the merger between Orange and T-Mobile, is calling on business leaders and consumers to join 4GBritain, a new campaign that aims to urge the government to "do whatever is necessary to move forward" with the roll out.
Media regulator Ofcom will run a major auction of mobile spectrum at the end of 2012 to enable operators to launch 4G, but Everything Everywhere has proposed using some of its existing 1800MHz spectrum to launch 4G as early as this year
However, rival operators such as Vodafone, O2 and Three have expressed concern that this will give Everything Everywhere, the biggest UK mobile firm by customer base, an unfair advantage in the 4G market and allow it to bog down the spectrum auction in legal challenges.
Everything Everywhere has today released an independent report, compiled by Capital Economics, saying that Britain will see "significant economic and social benefits from the introduction of 4G LTE mobile broadband".
The research found that introduction of 4G mobile networks has the potential to add 0.5% to UK Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by the end of the decade, equivalent to £75bn today.
According to the report, it would also unlock £5.5 billion of direct private investment into the UK economy by 2015, and create or safeguard 125,000 UK jobs
Capital Economics said that 4G could provide access to mobile superfast broadband to "at least 10 million people who won't be able to get fixed line superfast broadband by end of the decade".
"The introduction of 4G mobile broadband will create substantial long-term benefits for the economy and consumers, ultimately boosting UK GDP by as much as half a percentage point," said the report's author, Mark Pragnell of Capital Economics.
"The near-term £5.5bn private industry investment we project is substantial - and opportune for the wider economy given the recent investment slump."
4G 'long term evolution' (LTE) can deliver significantly faster and more reliable mobile internet connections, which is viewed as key as more people use connected devices and bandwidth hungry services.
Everything Everywhere has today launched a new 4GBritain
website for organisations and individuals to learn more about 4G and tell the government why they want the mobile service.
Everything Everywhere chief executive Olaf Swantee said that many countries have already adopted 4G, and so it is important for the UK to catch up.
"This research highlights the significant economic and social benefits that 4G will bring to the UK - already enjoyed in over 30 countries around the world," he said.
"The UK has the highest levels of smartphone penetration and mobile commerce in Europe, and Britons deserve to have the best infrastructure in place to support this growth."
Ofcom plans to auction off two spectrum bands
- the 800MHz freed up by the digital TV switchover and the 2.6GHz frequency - to mobile operators later this year.
These bands are highly valuable as they offer great in-building penetration, but the auction has been dogged by delays due to litigation threats as the operators battle to get as much of the new spectrum as possible.