The UK’s largest mobile network operator in terms of subscribers, Everything Everywhere, is aiming to inaugurate commercial 4G services by the end of 2012, with the company announcing what it terms ‘significant progress in its network integration and evolution and outlined the path toward the rollout of Long Term Evolution (LTE)’.
Everything Everywhere has revealed that it is preparing to conduct the UK’s first trials of LTE technology operating over spectrum in the 1800MHz band, with the pilot due to take place in Bristol from April 2012. According to the cellco the project will provide it with important information regarding the performance of the 4G technology over its existing spectrum in both urban and suburban areas. The Bristol trial will complement the operator’s live customer trial of 4G technology over 800MHz spectrum in rural Cornwall, which it launched in September 2011 and recently extended to July 2012. It claims that that project has already ‘demonstrated that 800MHz is optimal for the rollout of 4G LTE in rural areas’.
While a commercial deployment of 4G services will be dependent on Everything Everywhere receiving the relevant licences from the UK telecoms regulator, in the meantime it has also outlined more immediate network improvements designed to enhance the speeds available to its customers. It claims that the nationwide rollout of HSPA+ technology has already reached 60% of the network, with the deployment now expected to be completed in 3Q 2012. Looking further ahead, Everything Everywhere has also said that trials of Dual Carrier HSPA+ (DC-HSPA+), which offers downlink speeds of up to 42Mbps, will begin in 2Q 2012, with a view to introducing the technology commercially in the last quarter of the year.
Olaf Swantee, CEO at Everything Everywhere, said of his company’s network development plans: ‘Everything Everywhere’s vision is to launch 4G for Britain as soon as possible, and the rollout of 3.5G HSPA+ and our 4G trials across Britain are major steps towards delivering on that promise … The integration of the Orange and T-Mobile networks has already given our customers the widest 3G coverage in the UK – and I am pleased to say that with our advanced HSPA+ rollout they will also benefit from the fastest … I am also very proud to announce that, subject to regulatory approval by the spring, Everything Everywhere will be in a position to begin the rollout of 4G before the end of the year.’