Ofcom has announced the winners of the UK 4G LTE spectrum auction and it hopes that all winner s will start rolling out LTE in the UK within six months; which is fantastic news for our UK readers. The auction raised around 2.34 billion pounds which is over a billion pound less than it expected. The winners were the expected major networks already present in the UK, namely Vodafone, Everything Everywhere, Hutchison 3G UK, Telefonica, and Vodafone. Niche Spectrum Ventures Ltd which is a subsidiary of BT Group PLC also picked up the smallest share of the spectrum.
UK network EE (Everything Everywhere) has announced that it will be rolling out its LTE services to 27 more markets by June 2013. EE is currently the only UK network to offer LTE data on its network and it claims that by June this year it will have coverage of 55% of the UK population up from its current claim of 45%.
UK network Three has announced that it will offer LTE on its network later this year and unlike other operators, there will be no premium for the service. Three UK announced that it plans to roll out LTE later this year on its 1800MHz spectrum which it acquired as part of the deal which gave EE (Everything Everywhere) a head start in the launch of LTE in the UK.
As part of their Q1 2013 conference call, Apple's CEO Tim Cook announced that the iPhone 5 would gain LTE 4G data service on 36 additional carriers next week. The iPhone 5 currently enjoys LTE on carriers in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. Korea, Germany, and Japan, among others. Slower than anticipated global LTE rollouts, however, have kept the numbers relatively low.
Apple is apparently quite strict when it comes to allowing carriers to offer the iPhone 5 as an LTE device, requiring carriers to allow Apple to independently test the quality of their LTE network. If the network is up to Apple’s standards, then they will enable LTE functionality on the iPhone 5. This test can mean that, as carriers across the world start rolling out their LTE networks, the iPhone 5 won’t be immediately useable as an LTE device.
Literally seconds after Apple opened pre-orders for the iPad mini I bought a 32GB model in white. That was on October 26. A month ago. Not only hasn't it arrived yet, it hasn't even shipped yet. U.S. iPad minis + LTE began arriving weeks ago but international iPad minis + LTE aren't being treated equally. That's nothing new. Apple famously (or infamously) delayed the release of the original iPad and iPad 2 almost a month outside the U.S. But with the iPad mini, the international Wi-Fi only versions were available for delivery and purchase day and date with U.S. versions. It's only the LTE (or cellular, if your carrier doesn't support LTE) versions that seem to be MIA.
The Wi-Fi + Cellular versions of the iPad mini and iPad 4, which include LTE, are available for purchase at AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and other U.S. retail stores from today. Quantities are likely very limited, so if you want one, you will have to be quick.
Ofcom has made good on its plans to push forward the auction for the UK’s 4G mobile spectrum auction. Applications will start in December this year and the roll out to consumers is expected to be no later than May / June 2013. Everything Everywhere already has its 4G LTE network rolling out across the UK so this will be a huge relief to the other UK networks.