EE Likely To Have iPhone 5 4G Monopoly
The iPhone 5 won’t be compatible with any O2 or Vodafone 4G network
EE is likely to have a monopoly on providing 4G services to iPhone 5 customers in the UK for at least a year as the smartphone will not be compatible with any future Long Term Evolution (LTE) network offered by O2 or Vodafone.
Apple’s new flagship smartphone supports the 1800MHz bandwidth used by EE’s new network, but not the 800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum up for grabs in Ofcom’s 4G auction.
The only possible iPhone 5 4G challenger to EE is Three, which has agreed to purchase some of EE’s 1800MHz spectrum. The sale of this bandwidth was a condition of the European Commission’s approval of the merger of T-Mobile and Orange which created EE, but the channels might not be cleared until September 2013.
iPhone 5 4G
Vodafone and O2 were outraged by Ofcom’s decision to allow EE to create the UK’s first commercial 4G network on its existing spectrum ahead of the auction, arguing that it would result in a competitive environment.
“iPhone 5 currently only supports 4G on the 1800Mhz spectrum. However, by the time 4G becomes an all-operator service and is available to everyone in the UK, we would expect a whole range of new devices to have launched that support all UK 4G network frequencies,” an O2 spokesperson told TechWeekEurope. “We will also be selling devices at the end of this year that will be compatible with all 4G frequencies so they will work on our network from launch.”
“However, our new 4G Handset Promise means customers who purchase an iPhone 5 then want to change to a 4G phone next year can upgrade mid-way through their contract,” they added.
EE announced the launch of its LTE service earlier this week and it will launch in 16 cities by Christmas. London will be the only city to have complete coverage at first, but EE says it will eventually cover 98 percent of the UK population.
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