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Everything Everywhere can use 1.8 GHz spectrum for LTE

United Kingdom regulatory body Ofcom today approved Everything Everywhere’s request to use its existing 1.8 GHz spectrum holdings to offer LTE or WiMAX services. That spectrum band was initially required to house GSM-based 2G and 3G services.

In its decision, Ofcom noted that by allowing Everything Everywhere to tap into its 1.8 GHz spectrum to support LTE or WiMAX services the carrier “ will deliver significant benefits to consumers, and that there is no material risk that those benefits will be outweighed by a distortion of competition. Delaying doing so would therefore be to the detriment of consumers.”

Everything Everywhere, which is a joint venture between Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile unit and France Telecom’s Orange, laid out its plans earlier this year for LTE services it expected to have commercially launched later this year. The carrier has trialed LTE services using its 800 MHz spectrum holdings in Cornwall and using its 1.8 GHz spectrum assets in the Bristol area. Everything Everywhere rival O2 began LTE trials across portions of London late last year using 2.6 GHz spectrum under a “test and development” license from Ofcom.

Ofcom noted in its decision that Everything Everywhere is likely to “enjoy a competitive advantage during the period before other operators are able to launch their own LTE services,” but noted that any advantage would not be long lasting.

Ofcom is planning to auction off LTE/WiMAX-specific spectrum licenses in the 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz band later this year, with actual bidding expected to begin in early 2013. Everything Everywhere commissioned a report earlier this year that found the roll out of next-generation wireless networks would result in $9 billion of direct investments and create 125,000 jobs.

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