UK market leader Everything Everywhere announced today it will switch on 4G LTE services by year-end subject to regulatory approval.
The parent of the UK arms of Orange and T-Mobile also said it was on track to complete the upgrade of its network to 21Mb/s HSPA+ technology by Q3 2012, while a new 4G trial at 1800MHz will begin in Bristol from April.
“Everything Everywhere’s vision is to launch 4G for Britain as soon as possible, and the roll out of 3.5G HSPA+ and our 4G trials across Britain are major steps towards delivering on that promise,” said CEO Olaf Swantee.
As the UK’s 4G spectrum auctions are not scheduled until late this year, Everything Everywhere’s LTE launch will depend on UK regulator Ofcom allowing it using existing spectrum for 4G services.
Everything Everywhere claimed that the Bristol trial was “the UK’s first 4G LTE trials over 1800MHz,” and would give the operator “key learnings on the performance of 4G LTE over its existing 1800MHz spectrum in both urban and suburban environments.”
The Bristol trial complements Everything Everywhere’s live customer trial of 4G technology over 800MHz spectrum in rural Cornwall, launched in September 2011 and recently extended to July 2012.
Meanwhile, the operator said that 21Mb/s HSPA+ was currently available on 60 percent of its network and offered “an estimated 50 percent increase in data download speeds for customers with compatible devices.” Trials of 42Mb/s HSPA+ are due next quarter and are planned for launch in Q4.
The firm also said it was also entering the “final phase” of its initiative to combine the 3G networks of Orange UK and T-Mobile UK, with completion due in mid-May.