Mobile operators are to blame for the UK’s current lack of a 4G network, according to Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries.
But he told the audience of media big-wigs and pocket-lint at The Future of Entertainment summit in London: “The 4G spectrum is on track for the end of the year,” as he outlined the issues Ofcom has had to address.
Despite what Pocket-lint has heard in the past from Everything Everywhere, Vaizey claimed the legal threats from the mobile service providers as the main reason so far for Ofcom’s hold up in the licensing process for the next-generation infrastructure.
“Just about every mobile service provider has threatened to sue Ofcom if they get it wrong. If you want to look at the delay, don’t look at Ofcom, don’t look at the government, ask your mobile service provider.”
In May the operator, a joint venture between Orange and T-Mobile, told Pocket-lint that it was extremely confident Ofcom would not stand in its way in rolling out 4G before rival operators, despite objections it could lead to a monopoly of the market.
“I would personally find it very strange for our government to stand up and say, no you can’t have the next generation of mobile broadband, when they have been championing the rollout for years,” argued David Salam, head of Network Strategy and Architecture at Everything Everywhere.
We have asked for comment from Vodafone, Everything Everywhere, and O2 on the comments from the Culture Minister.
UPDATE Everything Everywhere has got in touch with Pocket-lint and given the following response:
“Everything Everywhere has no appetite for delaying the spectrum auction, nor any appetite for litigation against Ofcom. We haven’t threatened Ofcom with litigation at any stage in this auction process.
"We strongly believe that we need 4G in Britain as soon as possible, as the UK is already behind 38 other countries with a commercial LTE roll out.
"Everything Everywhere is investing and innovating to bring 4G to the UK as soon as possible, and has requested permission from Ofcom to launch 4G on a small scale this year, using its existing 1800Mhz spectrum.”