In a joint statement from UK regulator Ofcom, the government and major mobile network operators, a new initiative has been announced to speed up the delivery of 4G LTE services in the 800MHz digital dividend frequency band, with the news that Everything Everywhere, Telefonica O2, 3 UK and Vodafone have formed a jointly controlled company called Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited (DMSL). After collaborating with Ofcom and ministers, the four mobile firms established DMSL – which had originally been proposed under the name MitCo – and appointed Andrew Pinder as interim chairman. DMSL will be responsible for taking the necessary steps to ensure that consumers continue to receive clear Freeview TV signals following the rollout of 4G mobile services in the 800MHz spectrum band from spring next year. Deployment of 4G services in other frequency bands do not require similar measures to be put in place. It is expected that the creation of the new company will accelerate the rollout of competitive 4G services, and the venture will be funded by the successful bidders for 800MHz spectrum in Ofcom’s forthcoming auction; provisions exist to ensure that if any other party acquires some of this spectrum in the auction they can immediately become a shareholder in the company.
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Maria Miller said: ‘The rollout of 4G is a huge step forward for mobile broadband services in the UK, and will be incredibly important in driving economic growth.’ Ofcom CEO Ed Richards added: ‘This is further evidence of the progress that is being made by the industry, guided by Ofcom, to deliver 4G mobile services across the UK. The 4G auction is already on track to begin at the end of the year and the creation of Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited ahead of time represents yet another step towards bringing consumers early access to the next generation of mobile broadband services.’