Matthew Howett, practice leader, regulatory telecoms, Ovum

“Behind countries such as Angola, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan, Britain has rightly been lamented for being in the slow lane when it comes to 4G mobile services. However that is all set to change as Everything Everywhere’s new brand for 4G mobile services –“EE” – has announced plans for their rollout. Four cities will be covered at launch, with a further 16 set to get the service by the end of the year. The decision to cover London in its entirety from day one makes it one of the most ambitious rollouts we have seen, and EE is clearly not wasting any time making up lost ground.

“All eyes will be on the company once the rollout gets under way. For it to be an attractive proposition for consumers it requires a good degree of network coverage, an attractive range of handsets and easy-to-understand pricing. From what we learnt today, EE certainly seems to have done everything right on the first two, but pricing will not be known until the firm launches in a few weeks’ time.

“Britain’s other mobile networks will most likely have to wait until next year and an auction of additional mobile spectrum before they launch 4G services. While they technically could also launch 4G early using their existing spectrum, the perceived lack of an ecosystem and devices has so far not made that an attractive option. However, two of the five devices EE is launching with are capable of running LTE in the spectrum bands the other operators already have, so attention will likely turn to why they aren’t also planning to launch 4G before that auction.”

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