UK fixed and mobile operators are divided over whether to sign up to a voluntary code of practice in support of net neutrality. While ten service providers have signed up, Vodafone, Everything Everywhere and Virgin Media have so far refused.
UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB has agreed to purchase Telefónica UK’s consumer broadband and fixed-line telephony assets for £180m ($270m), making it the second-largest provider in the UK broadband market.
UK operator O2, part of the Telefónica group, has selected Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) to prepare its network to deliver LTE services across London and the South East of England. The operator is preparing to launch its 4G services soon after the UK’s spectrum auction in early 2013.
UK regulator Ofcom has unveiled plans for the country’s 4G spectrum auction. The UK has lagged other leading markets and Ofcom has revealed that spectrum will be allocated in 2013. Ofcom has set aside spectrum intended to guarantee the presence of four LTE operators in the UK market.
Mobile operator O2 UK has revealed that it expects to run out of spectrum on its macro cell layer around 2014. Speaking at a round table briefing hosted by the Small Cells Forum, Telefonica UK’s chief radio engineer Robert Joyce said that, “As we see it, with the increasing demand from tablets and smartphones the macro cell will not be able to cope. We can take the macro cell grid to eight times its current capacity and then we’ll run out of spectrum.”
The UK Government’s decision not to facilitate the deployment of LTE until 2013 at the earliest is “appalling” and has forced the UK to surrender its position as one of the leading communication markets in the world. This is the judgement of a C-level executive from one of the UK network operators, who asked not to be named.
In a play to further establish a standalone payment brand separate from its mobile network, O2 is offering insurance cover for tablets to UK users across all mobile networks via its O2 Money unit. O2 said that while the O2 Money brand is separate from its core mobile network offering, the firm is still hoping to leverage the reputation of a trusted and reliable service provider it has cultivated through its mobile brand.
Financial services firm Visa Europe has said it will launch the V.me digital wallet on a controlled basis in the UK, France and Spain in the autumn of 2012.
The O2 Wallet is the most comprehensive mobile payments service launched to date by an operator in Western markets. And interestingly, although the service is packed full of cool capabilities, such as text-based money transfers, price comparisons and offers, it is not yet enabled for contactless payments. Unlike other players in the nascent mobile payments market, O2 hasn’t chosen to make NFC (near-field communication) the focus of its mobile wallet’s appeal – not like Google Wallet or Quick Tap, the NFC m-wallet service launched last year by rival UK operator Orange. O2 is waiting until NFC handsets and payment terminals are more widely deployed to switch on that capability – but is not banking on it for the success of the wallet.
Telefónica subsidiary O2 has become the first operator in the UK market to launch a mobile wallet offering. The service offers price comparison for online shopping, person to person money transfer and allows the user to digitise cards linked to existing bank accounts, or load money onto an O2 stored value account.
Mobile network operators will not be able to roll out 4G LTE services until 2013 at the earliest, due to technical issues, according to UK regulatory body Ofcom, rendering speculation about whether the spectrum auction will be delayed as irrelevant.
UK regulator Ofcom, has announced that, from June 20th, mobile operators are permitted to trade the rights to spectrum amongst themselves. The new regulation covers 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2100MHz spectrum and mean operators will be able to bid for the use of spectrum they believe the have greater need for than other operators.
The UK arm of Telefónica, O2, has released a statement blasting UK regulator Ofcom’s consultation over the forthcoming digital dividend spectrum auction.
The operator is objecting to the use of spectrum floors, whereby at least four operators will get at least 10MHz of spectrum below 1GHz. However, O2 believe that these spectrum floors amount to a state aid, which would make them illegal under EU law.
UK mobile broadband users accessing the web over dongles and datacards are getting average throughput of 1.5Mbit/s, according to research released Thursday by UK regulator Ofcom. But there were significant differences between the five carriers’ performance, with O2 delivering the best performance, and Orange the worst. 3UK outperformed T-Mobile, with which it shares a 3G network.
In this video, taken at TM Forum Management World, held in Ireland this week, Steve Shurrock, CEO of O2 Ireland talks about the ‘digitalisation’ of the health sector and the merging of the phone and the wallet as the operators makes its first moves in the financial services space.
The second and third-placed mobile operators in the Irish market, incumbent Eircom and Telefonica’s O2, have announced that they are to share networks in a deal that Eircom described as the first of its kind in Ireland. Eircom said that the deal will “result in an unrivalled mobile experience for customers” as the two carriers seek to meet growing demand for high bandwidth services.
O2 has staked its claim to be the first UK operator to switch on a 3G network over 900MHz spectrum in London. Taking advantage of recent licensing changes, this latest rollout in London follows on the heels of similar deployments in Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester; the London deployment is expected to deliver a 50 per cent increase in capacity and a 30 per cent increase in speed.
Telefónica’s UK operation, O2, on Wednesday struck a deal with security and smart metering firm G4S to deploy a remote management and monitoring system for a national smart meter network.
The UK’s smallest operator, 3UK, is urging Ofcom to impose caps on spectrum allocation below 1GHz of bandwidth in order to prevent it from being squeezed out of the market.
Perhaps traffic offload is not the only motivation for O2 UK to roll out its own wifi network. On Thursday British broadcaster BSkyB confirmed its acquisition of the Cloud, giving the firm ownership of over 5,000 public wifi locations across the UK and one of O2’s wifi partners. While it does not operate a mobile network, Sky, in some respects is a competing service provider, especially when it comes to content.