Things aren’t looking good for high-speed mobile users in the UK. Once again, Ofcom‘s mismanagement has result in us Brits lagging behind Asia, the States and the rest of Europe as it’s not looking like the full 4G roll out won’t happen until summer or autumn next year. 4G networks are already running strong in America and even in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka but it’s looking like we won’t see them on our shores until July 2013 at the earliest. The race to 4G hasn’t even started properly yet.
With mobile phones becoming much more than just phones and with individuals and companies relying on mobile internet more than ever this is only going to harm British business and doesn’t make anyone look good. Mobile growth has already been hindered by the crippling data costs Ofcom allows networks to charge us and now the delay in Ofcom auctioning the 4G spectrum is going to set things back even further.
With the release and auction of the spectrum likely to make millions for the government they obviously want to take their time and do it properly. But issues with other wireless transmission technologies (such as Freeview TV) and squabbling between the various networks has complicated things. Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt somehow still has his job but is certainly dragging his feet and allowing Ofcom to waste valuable time. We’ve already complained that Ofcom aren’t being forced to use the spectrum auction for good.
O2 have recently been complaining that the difficulty of just getting the spectrum sorted out so the mobile networks can get on with it has been vastly exaggerated. They have already spent over £1 billion preparing for 4G and are eager to get started. However, Ofcom have previously criticised O2‘s conduct about the release of 4G frequencies. Whatever the true situation is, it looks like delays have got the better of things again. And the sad conclusion is we still have at least another year to wait.
Why do you think 4G is taking so long in the UK? Will you use it when it is ready? And do you think it’s fair to blame Ofcom?