4G Launches in Britain
The re-branded T-Mobile and Orange, now calling themselves Everything Everywhere, or EE, has invited journalists and technology experts to the London Science Museum on Tuesday 11th September amid great hype and speculation. Keen to keep an element of suspense among the esteemed guests Everything Everywhere have alluded to great things without exactly letting the cat out of the bag saying “Please join us for exciting information on our new brand and the latest innovation in network technology.”
Despite resisting the temptation to openly reveal the coming of 4G before this event it is obvious that this is the technological development Everything Everywhere is alluding to. It is widely known that 11th September is the date from which Ofcom have allowed Everything Everywhere to begin using its existing network framework to bring 4G connectivity to Britain.
The extent to which 4G will penetrate the British mobile networks is unknown. Many are sceptical and believe 4G service will remain elusive to most smartphone users in the UK. Other predictions anticipate EE bringing 4G to the British networks by the close of the year but only with the use of dongles. However fresh rumours have been circulating to indicate that Everything Everywhere may, in fact, be preparing to launch up to five new mobile devices with 4G capabilities in the near future.
Indeed it was reported in the Financial Times that Nokia have been in talks with Everything Everywhere and are forming an alliance for the UK release of their new Lumia handsets, just launched in the US last week. It is understood that Nokia are seeking to work with EE as an exclusive network provider and that the Nokia Lumia 920 and the Lumia 820 could actually be marketed as the UK’s first 4G mobile phones.
Although Nokia made no mention of their discussions with Everything Everywhere or 4G connectivity options when they launched the Lumia phones in New York last week, it could be a good arrangement for both companies. From Nokia’s point of view it could mean that the Nokia Lumia 920 has a unique selling
point when it is brought to the UK making it stand out from the crowd.
It is no coincidence that Everything Everywhere have seen fit to announce these new developments this week. EE will unveil their plans the day before Apple are due to unveil their new iPhone in California. The timing of Everything Everywhere’s announcement does cast some doubts as to whether they have been able to work with Apple to offer the first 4G iPhone in the UK. It will surely have been the aim of Everything Everywhere to secure such an arrangement. We will have to wait and see but if Everything Everywhere do strike a deal with Apple to bring 4G to the iPhone it will cast a shadow over Nokia’s Lumia 920 and certainly make it seem a less attractive option than otherwise.
A further potential hindrance to Everything Everywhere’s fourth generation network launch is the threat of legal action from bitter rivals Vodafone and O2. It is no secret that they have been angered by the decision of Ofcom to allow Everything Everywhere to proceed with a 4G network based on their existing technology ahead of other providers, and that since then both Vodafone and O2 have been considering legal action against this ruling. It is still unclear whether they will actually proceed along this path, which could make them unpopular with consumers as it denies them advanced technology. Perhaps it will all depend on just how much damage the spread of 4G with Everything Everywhere affects their sales before they decide how to react.