Last year, with a deft move that left its competitors fuming, Everything Everywhere became the first UK operator to offer LTE services. This week, as Ofcom’s LTE spectrum auction got underway, Everything Everywhere has become—rather less auspiciously—the first UK operator to slash its LTE retail charges.
The UK arm of Hutchison’s 3 has announced that it will not price LTE services at a premium to its existing offers. 3UK is currently bidding for spectrum in the UK LTE auction and said in a statement on Monday that the technology will be added to its network “later this year”.
UK operator Vodafone has added its opted-in subscribers to advertising and commerce joint venture Weve, joining rivals EE and O2. With the addition of one million Vodafone subscriber details, Weve now has a database of more than 15 million UK subscribers.
Mobile operators preparing mobile wallet offerings will face potentially stiff competition from financial institutions, after UK quango the Payments Council announced plans to launch an industry-wide mobile payment service.
UK fixed line incumbent BT is looking to take a slice of mobile operators’ revenues with an app that it has launched today. The BT SmartTalk app allows customers to make calls over a data connection from their iPhones,in a similar way to over-the-top solutions providers such as Skype and Viber, billed at the same rates that they are charged for calls from their BT landlines.
UK operator Vodafone has hit back at regulator Ofcom’s suggestion that UK telecoms operators should not be allowed to raise consumer tariffs mid-way through fixed term contracts. Vodafone said that mobile operators are sometimes forced to adjust their prices to reflect changes in charges set by other operators for services such as premium rate or directory enquiries.
UK regulator Ofcom has launched a consultation into methods of protecting consumers from mid-contract price increases for fixed, broadband and mobile services. The consultation comes on the heels of a review in which Ofcom studied more than 1,600 consumer complaints in a six-month period about changes in tariffs for what consumers believed were fixed-price contracts.
The presence of BT and PCCW – which owns fixed-wireless 4G operator UK Broadband – among the bidders in the UK’s upcoming 4G spectrum auction has put a new twist on the narrative for the country’s mobile market. In the run-up to the auction, which will see regulator Ofcom sell off the 800MHz and 2.6GHz frequencies, the perceived wisdom was that challenger operator 3 UK would pick up the 800MHz block reserved for an operator that holds no sub-1GHz spectrum, and the rest would be business as usual. However, with these companies entering the fray, the picture becomes much murkier.
Seven firms have qualified to bid in the UK’s 4G spectrum auction, including three new entrants. Joining EE, 3UK, O2 and Vodafone are HKT – a subsidiary of PCCW; MLL Telecom; and Niche Spectrum Ventures – a subsidiary of BT.
The UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced that it will auction off around 200MHz of the radio spectrum it owns. The sale of spectrum, all of which is below 15GHz, will provide the country’s operators an opportunity to beef up their spectrum portfolios as they look to roll out LTE services.
Ofcom doesn’t get a whole lot of days like this. I suggested back in March that when you get a bunch of mobile operators in the same room to talk about spectrum, the one thing they’ll be able to agree on is that somewhere, somehow the regulator has dropped the ball. The Finally 4G Westminster e-Forum featured none of that, presumably to the great relief of the Ofcom representatives in attendance.
Chinese equipment vendor Huawei scored a significant coup on Monday, winning a managed services contract with Hutchison-owned 3UK.
Twelve cities in the UK will receive additional funding for superfast broadband following an autumn budget update. UK Chancellor George Osborne confirmed that 12 smaller cities would benefit from a funding pot of £50m, in addition to the 10 cities that were added earlier in the year.
This summer’s Olympic Games represented a huge undertaking for UK operators faced with the challenge of delivering mobile coverage to ten million visitors across the Olympic Park and associated venues.
Rural areas in the UK will soon receive a ‘superfast’ broadband boost after the UK government received approval to pump £530m into its Broadband Development UK (BDUK) upgrade scheme.
UK Android smartphone users access almost 80 per cent of their mobile data over wifi networks, according to research from Nielsen. In a study of some 1,500 Android users with a metering app installed on their devices, Nielsen found that wifi offload varied considerably depending on the time of day, but averaged 78 per cent.
Vodafone has announced a loss of £1.89bn for the six months to the end of September 2012 on the back of write downs for its Spanish and Italian operations totaling £5.9bn. The international operator recorded a profit of £6.64bn for the same period in 2011 and chief executive Vittorio Colao said the 1H12 results reflected “tougher market conditions, mainly in Southern Europe”.
UK regulator Ofcom has released its regulations and schedule for the auction of 800MHz and 2600MHz spectrum to be used for LTE services. The regulator has set a reserve price of £1.3bn for all available spectrum, including 2x15MHz of 1800MHz spectrum that Everything Everywhere is required to divest as part of the deal that saw it cleared to launch LTE at 1800MHz in October.
Chinese infrastructure vendor Huawei claims that if the anticipated benefits of fibre-based broadband are to be realised in the UK, issues such as the shortage of digital skills across many industries and old-fashioned working practices and business processes need to be addressed. If they are not, the emergence of superfast broadband connections could result in UK companies outsourcing more jobs abroad rather than creating them locally.
UK minister for culture, communications and the creative industries Ed Vaizey has pledged to ensure the UK becomes the leading European nation in terms of speed and penetration of fibre-based broadband services by 2015. Speaking at Chinese vendor Huawei’s Broadband Forum event in London today, the MP said that the UK has the most ambitious plan for broadband services of any European nation.