On December 8th, Everything Everywhere (who own and run T-Mobile and Orange) confirmed plans to improve their two mobile networks, preparing for 4G technology with an investment of over £1.5 billion. Various sources say that once 4G is up and running in Britain, data speeds for mobile devices will be increased by 10 times 3G‘s capabilities. Both T-Mobile and Orange have asserted that the UK requires a 21st century infrastructure and that they are committed to rolling out 4G as soon as possible. The Everything Everywhere CEO has said:
With mobile data increasing 250% over the past two years, we are making these efforts so we can deliver on our ambition to provide the UK’s most reliable, biggest and best mobile data network.
O2 have also spent over £1 billion in mobile services and telecommunication towers all over Britain to prepare the country for the 4G future. They rolled out the UK’s first 3G network on the 900 Mhz frequency and, right now, are running the largest 4G trial in the country. The trials are currently only in London and cover up to 40 square kilometres of Central London, covering key areas such as Canary Wharf, Soho, Westminster, Kings Cross and the South Bank. O2‘s spokesman said:
Our trial will run until summer 2012, and will give hundreds of consumers, businesses and venue owners a chance to test the latest 4G technology.
So far Vodafone and 3 have not announced plans for 4G, but it is likely that they are working towards it. First though, we must wait for Ofcom’s upcoming 4G auction.
Over in the US the 4G era has already begun. The American branch of T-Mobile already offers 4G services leaving Britain trailing behind and soon many companies feel they will be in loss because of this. And users of smartphones like the new iPhone 4S need constant access to ever-faster mobile internet connections. 4G will be greatly speed up the mobile internet era and will bring new opportunities for web designers and mobile commerce.
When will 4G be ready in the UK? Only time will tell. The question is, which network will get there first?