Ed Vaizey: networks delaying 4G UK launch, not Ofcom

Ed Vaizey: telco's delaying 4G, not Ofcom
Vaizey - puts the 4G record straight

4G mobile broadband isn't set to come to the UK till at least 2013 and it's the fault of bickering telcos.

This is according to communications minister Ed Vaizey, who, speaking at the Future Entertainment Summit in London, revealed that while many are pointing the finger at Ofcom for the delay of 4G in the UK, it is more to do with the telecommunication companies ready to pounce if the Office of Communication puts a step wrong.

This is something that happened recently when Ofcom said it was backing Everything Everwhere's push into 4G, much to the annoyance of both Vodafone and O2.

"In 2013/2014 we should see the advent of 4G," noted Vaisey.

"We are not going to clear the spectrum until the end of 2013 and Ofcom needs to go through a massive process [with 4G] as it will get sued by telcos if it doesn't get it right.

"So, if you are looking at what is delaying it, it is not Ofcom it is the telecomm companies."

Internet interference

In the US, 4G/LTE is up and running and the launch of the new iPad, which came to the UK originally with 4G branding, shows the confusion this is bringing to consumers on both sides of the Atlantic.

Vaizey said in his speech that there were many factors to consider with installing 4G in the UK – especially when it comes to shielding things like digital TV from spectrum interference.

He explained that there were plans in place to make sure 4G doesn't affect the current digital infrastructure we have in the UK.

"We have been having an interesting discussion with Freeview about 4G interference, especially after they talked to the media and not us about their concerns that we weren't doing enough on this.

"The bottom line is that no one will allow anyone to lose their television signal because of 4G."

Earlier at FES 2012, Sky's Mike Darcey likened 4G to the M25, saying the signal when released will soon become overrun with users and Wi-Fi will still rule the mobile web roost going forward.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, Shortlist.com at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.