Rating: Wild speculation about using it for 4G/LTE
3 UK has formally announced its agreement to acquire two 15 MHz chunks of Everything Everywhere’s 1800 MHz spectrum. Dave Dyson, CEO with 3 UK, commented, “Acquiring this spectrum will more than double the capacity available to customers on our network.” However, the mobile operator will definitely not be able to utilise this bandwidth immediately. A few things have got to happen first. Ofcom needs to give official approval (which it almost certainly will). The EU’s Competition Commission will also have to give the go ahead. That’s also extremely likely because it asked Everything Everywhere to divest itself of some of its spectrum as part of the agreement to allow T-Mobile and Orange to create Everything Everywhere in the first place. The third obstacle to getting its hands on this spectrum for 3 is that Everything Everywhere needs to stop using it. It doesn’t have to do so until September 2013.Why does 3 want the spectrum? Well as Dyson says, “We have seen a huge growth in data consumption with average mobile handset customer usage now more than 1.1 GB per month.”
He added, “New spectrum, supported by further committed technology spend, is a clear signal that we are committed to maintain our lead as the network built for the mobile internet.”
The big question mark hanging over this announcement is… “What exact services is 3 going to be able to offer over 1800 MHz?
It’s extremely likely that 3 UK would want to offer 4G/LTE over 1800 MHz especially given that Everything Everywhere has just been given permission to do that very thing by Ofcom.
A 3 UK insider told GoMobile News that the intention is to run all of its services over the 1800 MHz spectrum. Not just the mobile internet.
Which as far as we can work out means running 3G voice over 1800 MHz.
Apparently there are Nokia handsets that can do this as well as the latest iPhones.
We still haven’t heard who will be offering LTE handsets running at 1800 MHz to Everything Everywhere, yet. We bet that ZTE already has such a device, though.