When EE announced plans to roll out 4G a few weeks ago, their goal of having the service available in 16 UK cities by Christmas signalled the company was leading the way in providing super-fast broadband to Britain.
But rival phone networks aren't too pleased by the prospect of being left behind, with make-or-break talks between the networks, media regular Ofcom and new culture Secretary Maria Miller happening today. They're set to discuss bringing an end to legal action that could delay even further the rollout of 4G in the UK.
The likes of Vodaphone and 02 were furious after Ofcom granted EE, then called Everything Everywhere, permission to upgrade their spectrum to launch 4G in the UK way before the rest of the spectrum would be auctioned to rival networks in early 2013. Vodaphone said at the time of the announcement:
"The regulator has shown a careless disregard for the best interests of consumers, businesses and the wider economy through its refusal to properly regard the competitive distortion created by allowing one operator to run services before the ground has been laid for a fully competitive 4G market.
Now Ofcom is set to tell the Culture Secretary that the auction can be brought forward, in an effort to appease the networks who have threatened legal action over the prospect of EE having an effective monopoly on 4G in the UK for almost a year.
4G could effectively provide download speeds over ten times faster than 3G, and when the IB Times UK technology editor David Gilbert tested the networks he found that EE's 4G LTE gave speeds of around 30 mbps, roughly six times faster than what 3G on EE could provide. The 4G auction is expected to provide a government windfall of about £4bn, which Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls yesterday said should be spent on new homes.
Written and presented by Alfred Joyner