Ofcom is now warning mobile phone consumers not to expect 4G networks to be commonly available in the country until 2015. The improvement in mobile communications infrastructure had been expected sooner, but the draft annual plan released for the year 2012-1013 indicates that ‘wide availability’ of the 4G spectrum will probably not be feasible until at least 2015, although the rollout in certain areas of the country may come sooner.
There have already been trials of 4G service in various locations around the country, with locations such as Cornwall and Cambridge participating. London is presently undergoing a 4G trial sponsored by mobile phone network O2 and has access to the biggest 4G network to be established in the UK so far. However, users who reside in far-flung locations such as rural regions can expect at least a two-year delay before they see high-speed broadband coming to their area.
The various networks are still arguing over portions of the spectrum. In fact, a committee for the UK Parliament actually issued criticism of operators for this infighting over the 4G spectrum. Ofcom would prefer for the network known as Three to remain a true competitor, even though at present it is the smallest of the major networks. To this end, Ofcom has proposed providing Three with a price break for portions of the spectrum. O2 and Vodafone have expressed disagreement with the plan, which they feel amounts to the government picking winners and losers in the mobile phone business.