Chinese infrastructure vendor Huawei has pledged £10m to support technology research in British universities, as part of its previously announced £1.3bn investment in the nation.
The UK government has announced that it will open a £10m fund in early 2014 to test innovative solutions to deliver superfast broadband services to remote areas of the UK. It has also pledged to invest in making the UK a world centre for the testing and development of driverless cars.
UK operator 3UK has confirmed its plans to launch 4G services in the country. The firm said it has already begun offering the service to existing subscribers with 4G ready phones in areas with 4G coverage. It will accelerate the rollout in January and all customers with a compatible device will be able to access 4G at no extra cost by the end of 1Q14 when they are in an area with 4G coverage.
The UK is heading will face a serious spectrum shortage by the end of the decade if 300MHz of cellular spectrum and 350MHz of wifi spectrum are not made available. The warning came this week from Real Wireless, a consultancy that worked with UK regulator Ofcom on this year’s LTE spectrum auctions.
The use of auctions for spectrum renewal seems pointless and likely only to create uncertainty and risk for operators, says Graham Friend, managing director at Coleago Consulting. New entrants know they are likely to be outbid by incumbents and the uncertainty generated dampens the desire of those incumbents to invest and innovate, which is not good at a time when governments want to see a rapid and extensive roll-out of LTE.
UK operator EE has launched what it claims to be the world’s largest mobile data plan, offering a petabyte (a million gigabytes) of data. The package is priced at £8m. The plan has been developed for business customers such as media, film, entertainment and CCTV security industries that transfer large amounts of data over 4G while on the move, the operator said.
UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has said that Vodafone is the nation’s only mobile operator to have failed to meet its 3G coverage obligation. Vodafone has fallen 1.4 per cent short of the 90 per cent coverage requirement.
UK LTE operator EE has switched on what it claims is the world’s fastest LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) network in London’s Tech City, claiming to offer speeds of 300Mbps. The network makes use of carrier aggregation – bringing together 20MHz of 1800MHz spectrum and 20MHz of 2.6GHz spectrum. More features will be trialled throughout 2014, EE said.
UK incumbent BT has reported a 13 per cent drop in year on year profit for the first half of 2013. Compared to 2012, the firm’s income fell to £948m in the half year ending September 30, while revenue dropped just one per cent to £8.94bn.
UK operator EE has launched the country’s first pay as you go (PAYG) 4G handset. The operator said that 40 per cent of mobile users in the UK want PAYG plans and that all 4G handsets currently available to pay monthly customers will be available on PAYG.
UK carrier BT’s Global Research and Development headquarters, Adastral Park, is currently playing host to a field trial of Fibre To The Distribution Point (FTTdp) G.fast technology being run by Chinese infrastructure vendor Huawei.
Chinese infrastructure vendor Huawei has confirmed plans to open a research and development centre in the UK, as part of the firm’s $2bn investment commitment to the nation. The news was confirmed by Huawei CEO and founder Ren Zhengfei as he met with UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne at the vendor’s headquarters in Shenzhen this week.
UK fixed line incumbent BT said Thursday it has signed an exclusive MVNO agreement with EE to provide mobile communications to its customers and 88,000 employees.
UK regulator Ofcom has announced that a group of technology firms, including Google, BT and Microsoft, are taking part in Europe’s first major pilot of white space technology. The regulator said that the UK will be among the first countries in the world to road-test the technology, which could help support the next wave of wireless innovation.
UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has announced the appointment of Philip Marnick as its group director in charge of spectrum. Marnick currently holds the position of CTO at wireless service provider UK Broadband and will move to Ofcom in November. He has 27 years experience in the wireless communications industry, having previously held senior roles at O2, BT, Orange, Softbank Mobile and Nuance.
Two of the UK’s mobile operators have added to the chorus criticising the way that broadband is being rolled out in the country’s rural areas. Vodafone and EE both issued statements calling for the government to re-evaluate the initiative and make it more inclusive of 4G wireless.
British bank Barclays has launched two features within its mobile banking app Pingit, which it launched in February last year. Using the service, retailers can offer their customers two new ways to pay via their mobile.
Canadian operator Rogers Communications has poached Vodafone UK’s CEO Guy Laurence. He will take on the role of president and CEO at the firm from December 2, 2013. In response, Vodafone UK has promoted enterprise director Jeroen Hoencamp to fill Laurence’s shoes.
Keith Mumford, Vice President of Technology at Kineto, explains that although O2 and Vodafone have launched their 800 MHz LTE services, neither is choosing to focus on coverage – which is often one of the traditional battlegrounds that operators favour when it comes to marketing roll outs. Coverage though, particularly for LTE at 800MHz, may still arise as a contentious issue.
UK operator EE now has more one million LTE subscribers, the highest of any European operator, according to research firm Informa Telecoms and Media.