It has now been several months since the UK’s major networks finished bidding for 4G LTE spectrum in Ofcom’s auction, but despite this amount of time, none have confirmed when they’ll be launching their high-speed data networks. Vodafone has now broken its silence with some news, but for those hoping to jump aboard its 4G train soon, it’s not what you’ll want to hear.
In an interview with The Guardian, Vittorio Colao, the firm’s chief executive, said 4G won’t be coming from them until the end of summer, adding, “We want to be able to launch it when it’s really ready.” The report speculates Vodafone may be holding back to coincide its 4G switch-on with the release of the next-generation Apple iPhone. At the moment, the iPhone is only compatible with the 4G frequencies used by EE, however the iPhone 5S should incorporate the new frequencies to allow it to operate on all UK 4G networks.
It’s an interesting strategy, and should the iPhone 5S be Vodafone’s headline device, we can expect a September or October launch for the 4G service. Vodafone’s news joins Three’s vague announcement that its 4G offering won’t be coming until the end of the year, saying it’s happy with the performance of its HSPA+ network at the moment.
O2 hasn’t talked about a date either, and its website only says 4G is coming later this year. EE, as it already has a 4G network, hasn’t discussed when it will incorporate its share of the Ofcom spectrum. In the meantime, if you want 4G speeds in the UK, EE is probably going to be your only option until after the summer.