Bloomberg News

Everything Everywhere to Become First U.K. Carrier to Offer 4G

February 26, 2012

Feb. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Deutsche Telekom AG and France Telecom SA’s British mobile-phone venture plans to begin a fourth-generation high-speed mobile Internet service at the end of this year, the first operator to announce a U.K. rollout.

Everything Everywhere, which has applied to regulators to run the faster services on its existing airwaves, will start the commercial service on a small scale for mobile broadband access before expanding the offering, Chief Executive Officer Olaf Swantee said yesterday in London. Swantee is set to attend the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week.

“Subject to regulatory approval by springtime, Everything Everywhere will be in a position to roll out 4G services before the end of the year,” Swantee said. “The service will help the U.K.” to get back in line with other markets.

By deploying faster services early, Everything Everywhere will move ahead of Vodafone Group Plc and Telefonica SA, which are waiting for more frequencies to become available before starting their own services. The carriers are seeking to offer high-speed services to persuade subscribers to use more applications on smartphones including Apple Inc.’s iPhone and handsets using Google Inc.’s Android system.

British regulator Ofcom told Everything Everywhere last month that its application to use its existing spectrum would be considered in the first quarter of 2012. The watchdog has already granted a trial license.

“They have to take into account the competition consequences,” said Kip Meek, who advises Everything Everywhere and who formerly worked for Ofcom. “If they do it poorly then they will be litigated.”

France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom merged their U.K. operations in 2010, creating the country’s largest mobile operator by leapfrogging Telefonica’s O2 unit. The deal took the U.K. from five full-service mobile operators to four, in line with Italy, Spain and Germany.

Hutchison Whampoa Ltd.’s 3 unit will also have access to the new services as part of its existing agreement with the operator, Swantee said.

--Editors: Kenneth Wong, Robert Valpuesta

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Browning in London at jbrowning9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net -0- Feb/22/2012 16:55 GMT


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