The U.K.’s first LTE network — run by EE (formerly Everything Everywhere) the parent company of the Orange and T-Mobile carriers — will go live on October 30, EE’s CEO Olaf Swantee has confirmed. The network was announced early last month– with a launch scheduled for “the coming weeks”.
Swantee gave the following statement today, confirming the launch date
We are delighted to announce that the official launch of our new customer brand, EE, offering the UK’s first superfast mobile 4G and fibre broadband service, will take place on the 30th October 2012. This is a significant milestone for the United Kingdom, and for the people and businesses of our country who will now be able to enjoy the huge advantages of superfast 4G technology for the first time. We are very proud to be pioneering, innovating and leading our industry in launching 4G for our nation through our new EE brand.
The EE network will bring 4G to ten cities starting on October 30, and will expand to cover 16 cities — a third of the UK population — by the end of the year.
The 10 launch cities are Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Sheffield. By the year’s end EE’s LTE will also be live in Belfast, Derby, Hull, Newcastle, Nottingham and Southampton.
A stand still agreement between the U.K.’s four carriers prevented EE from launching the network last month. But yesterday telecoms regulator Ofcom announced a deal has been secured to speed up frequency clearance timetables for spectrum that is due to be auctioned at the start of next year – thereby shortening EE’s competitive advantage.
EE’s rivals O2 and Vodafone are planning to launch their LTE networks in the two bands up for auction (800MHz, 2.6GHz) so by speeding up spectrum clearance — and shaving up to five months off the launch time of LTE networks in those bands — the risk of further litigation or other blocking tactics being deployed against EE’s launch has been effectively nullified.
“After more than five years in the making, finally the schedule to award spectrum for 4G appears to have been agreed,” noted Matthew Howett, analyst at Ovum, in a statement yesterday.