“The move by Ofcom to allow deployment of 4G before the auction process completes will be welcomed by the consumer. The question now is what level of coverage will be available, it is not clear how much of the Orange/T-Mobile mast network will be upgraded to 4G and in what time scale.
The auction has a requirement that 4G will provide 98% of UK homes with indoor coverage, though there is no speed floor to this requirement, so until we have actual network deployment it will not be clear how useful this basic requirement will be in helping to meet the UK 2 Mbps Universal Service Commitment.
For mobile road warriors, the choice of 4G which particularly in its first year of deployment will be free of congestion, will be snapped up, many of these people already travel with two or three mobile dongles to ensure some internet access in most of the UK. If the iPhone5 launches with support for 1800 MHz LTE, then this will give Everything Everywhere a competitive edge, but Apple has not released firm information on what LTE frequencies the iPhone5 will support, it may not work with any planned 4G network in the UK.
Some claim that 4G will replace fixed line broadband, and in areas where fixed line services only barely meet a 2 Mbps minimum requirement we would expect this to happen, but in the much larger part of the UK which will have access to 40 Meg, 80 Meg and 120 Meg services in the next 12 months, 4G is unlikely to win many away from fixed line services.”
Andrew Ferguson, editor of Thinkbroadband.com