Rating: And the others had 1800 MHz spectrum tooSo. To Battersea Power Station (in the UK’s capital) last night [November 1st 2012] to celebrate the official launch of EE‘s (formerly Everything Everywhere’s) 4G LTE network – 4GEE. Whilst the crowd was watching a pretty amazing 4D projection on the side of the old power station, GoMobile News found ourselves standing right next to Olaf Swantee, EE’s CEO. Not one to miss a chance, we swiftly asked Mr Swantee if he really had personally intervened in the development of the iPhone 5 to ensure it was compatible with the UK’s first 4G network which runs at 1800 MHz (Band 3). And, yes, he confirmed that he’d been to see “Tim” – as in Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. Swantee also confirmed another thing which GoMobile News had always suspected – that Vodafone and O2 have spare 1800 MHz spectrum which they could in theory use for 4G.
Swantee pointed out that it wasn’t just the UK which intended to utilise 1800 MHz to run LTE, Korea has had the same idea too.
So a move to support 1800 MHz on the iPhone 5 wasn’t UK specific.
Incidentally, it looks as if the Australians are going to use 1800 MHz for LTE as well.
Anyway, Swantee mentioned another fact that GoMobile News has always suspected – namely that Vodafone and O2 do own spectrum at 1800 MHz.
We didn’t have time to discuss this fact in detail but our understanding of the situation is that this spectrum is TD rather than FDD which is what EE is using.
But the Chinese are extremely keen on TD-LTE and it wouldn’t have been too difficult for the British pair of operators to source compatible 4G smartphones if they had wanted to.
Swantee also mentioned another crucial difference in EE since his arrival. When he first took the job the company was simply “sweating its assets”.
Swantee persuaded EE to invest and a jolly good thing too. Hence the UK has a 4G network at last.
GoMobile News took a look at one of the 4GEE handsets on display and it was experiencing download speeds of around 21 Mbit/s.
As we thought, not everyone will enjoy circa 50 Mbit/s all the time but that’s still pretty impressive. Just try getting 21 Mbit/s on a regular fixed line broadband connexion without paying a fortune.