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UK regulators delay Orange / T-Mobile LTE plan, give competitors time to react

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Ofcom has granted an extension for competitors that want to respond to Everything Everywhere's proposed LTE network.

Everything Everywhere
Everything Everywhere

UK regulator Ofcom has delayed its decision to approve Everything Everywhere's proposed LTE network in order to give competitors more time to respond following requests for additional time. While Ofcom initially granted the service preliminary approval earlier this month, it gave competitors until April 17th to respond with any issues. That date has now been pushed back to May 8th, giving the likes of Vodafone and O2 an additional three weeks to have their voices heard.

Vodafone has already publicly voiced its objection to Ofcom's preliminary approval, stating that the decision would give Everything Everywhere — which would operate under both the T-Mobile and Orange brands — "a significant head start before any of its competitors have a clear path to 4G." The original proposal would allow Everything Everywhere to use the 1800MHz spectrum, already used for 2G communication, for its LTE network, which could be available within a few months of approval.

Meanwhile, everyone else will have to wait until the 800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum are auctioned off by the UK government, which wouldn't be available for use until late next year at the earliest. However, that auction could be delayed as well, after Three announced a wider rollout of its HSPA 42.2Mbps network yesterday, which removes any time pressure from the carrier and gives it legal flexibility to challenge Ofcom's decisions surrounding the spectrum auction.