Ten month head start equates to a million customers already
A belated 4G roll-out today (29th August 2013) by Britain’s O2 and Vodafone carriers has had the shine further wiped off it by EE, which says that its own network has now passed a milestone with over 100 towns covered. EE, the nation’s biggest operator and which owns Orange and T-Mobile, also says it will continue rolling out its 4G network to an additional nine towns this month, aiming to reach 98 per cent of the UK population by the end of 2014.
Ofcom’s decision last October to give EE the green light on 4G was widely criticised at the time giving, as it did, the company a ten month head start.
Since then EE has already doubled the speed of its network in 20 of the cities that it covers.
Meanwhile, today’s 4G launches by O2 and Vodafone will only be available to a handful of UK customers, with O2 rolling out its service in London, Leeds and Bradford, and Vodafone launching only in London.
Last month it was revealed that, on the back of its 4G successes in which it has near on a million customers, EE – owned by France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom – could be mulling a partial flotation on London’s stock exchange in an exercise that could raise as much as £10 billion.
* Footnote: Verizon has resumed talks with Vodafone over buying the latter’s stake in their US joint venture for more than $100 billion, according to the Wall street Journal. It claims that both sides fear time is running out for a deal to be struck as interest rates rise and new rivals emerge, though Vodafone is still said to want closer to $130 billion for its 45 per cent share. Either way, if the deal does go through it could provide Vodafone with a massive war chest, allowing it to wipe out debt while delivering a bonanza to shareholders. In early morning trading today, Vodafone’s shares rose as much as 9 per cent in response to the latest reports.