Everything Everywhere starts countdown to 4G launch
After years of delays, the wait for 4G super-fast mobile broadband in the UK is nearly at an end.
This week, Everything Everywhere confirmed the news we've all been waiting to hear - that it will launch the country's first 4G service on October 30th.
It's a big relief, as in the UK we've been lagging behind the likes of Scandinavia, South Korea and the US for some time now when it comes to next-generation mobile connectivity.
If you're living in - or close to - one of the UK's biggest cities, chances are you'll be able to enjoy the benefits of 4G sooner than you might think.
Everything Everywhere reckons it'll cover 16 parts of the country, representing more than 20 million people, by this Christmas. London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Derby, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Southampton are the lucky cities that are first in line to receive access.
While Everything Everywhere is pushing forward with its 4G rollout, the other network operators still have a wait on their hands. The likes of O2 and Vodafone cannot launch their own super-fast mobile networks until after the upcoming spectrum auction, as they don't currently have the spectrum to support the technology.
Now that 4G coverage is almost upon us, just one question remains: what should be done with the proceeds from the spectrum sell-off?
If Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls is to be believed, the auction will generate as much as £4 billion for the economy. He thinks this windfall should be spent on the construction of 100,000 new affordable homes.
That's not what the British Retail Consortium thinks, though. Director general Stephen Robertson argued this week that the cash should support the rollout of faster fixed-line broadband in remote and rural communities likely to miss out on commercial deployments.
We'll have to wait and see how the government is planning to spend its spectrum auction riches, but it'd certainly be positive to see the cash from communications providers reinvested in the industry.
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