Mobiles: 4G still out of UK reach

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John Stokdyk
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February is a big month in the mobile world as most of the industry heading to Barcelona for the annual launch-fest known as the World Mobile Congress (14-17 Feb).

Back in the UK, telecoms regulator Ofcom is this month consulting on proposals outlining the auctions for 800MHz and 2.6GHz frequency bands that are well suited for the planned Long Term Evolution (LTE) of wireless broadband.

In America they have 4G, but so far only Austria, Norway, Poland and Sweden have rolled out LTE in Europe. And it will still be some time before it reaches the UK.

The move to digital TV in the UK is freeing up a portion of the wireless spectrum at around 800 MHz that is optimal for LTE, but PwC telecoms manager Simon Harris warned that Ofcom needs to resolve some outstanding issues around the auction quickly to ensure the UK is not left behind in the shift to LTE.

Peter Grant, Regius professor of engineering at Edinburgh University also warned that LTE might not live up to expectations when it comes on stream: “High download speed [will] be available close to the base station or access point, but at the cell edge... noise and interference levels [mean] rates will be 1/100 that at the cell centre.”

Key smartphones at Barcelona WMC

4G devices such as Motoroloa’s

Droid Bionic

were prominent at January ‘s Consumer Electronic Show and are likely to feature at the WMC in Barcelona too. But don’t be tempted to acquire a 4G device for UK use until major UK networks announce full commercial services.

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