4G LTE: It’s not all about spectrum (But it helps)

POSTED BY Global Administrator
As a customer, I am quite keen on getting 4G here in the UK – so have you ever wondered how keen the operators are to roll out 4G LTE in this country? Everything Everywhere has just published a report (as a part of its 4G Britain campaign) claiming that some 125,000 jobs will be ‘created or safeguarded’ by the arrival of 4G LTE. Whether you agree or not, it is an excellent PR push by them, especially with the UK economy have just sunk back into a recession. The report claims that 4G LTE will inject £5.5 billion of private investment into the economy by 2015 and add 0.5% to the UK GDP by 2020. EE has been considering using its 1800MHz spectrum for its own LTE services, which other operators in the UK considers unfair and uncompetitive. Although Vodafone, Three and O2 were quick to point this report out as misleading and self-serving, I am not going to dwell on its accuracy/authenticity or explain the politics behind such a campaign here; whether or not this report convinces Ofcom to auction off the spectrum as soon as possible is another matter entirely. Operators - including EE - need to have LTE strategies in place that are aligned with – and can manage - the rapid development of the market. To further strengthen their position, operators need to work with content providers even more closely to provide innovative services that will meet users’ requirements and, crucially, to which the user will attach value. However, while doing so they need to make sure they provide high and reliable network performance which will be taken for granted by the consumers. We have forecast that the service revenues generated by 4G LTE mobile networks will grow rapidly once networks are launched globally - exceeding $265 billion by 2016 – but to attain these revenues, network reliability is essential. But before you can get a network up and running, you need spectrum – whether new spectrum or, as proposed by EE, its existing 1800MHz allocation. So in this respect, it’s over to Ofcom…