Tech Titans: Speeding the information Highway


Apple’s iPhone 5 was announced last week and the biggest new feature was 4G LTE.


By Jordan O’Brien

Apple’s iPhone 5 was announced last week and the biggest new feature was 4G LTE.

If you’re unfamiliar with 4G LTE, it’s the next generation of mobile network technology after 3G.

Everything Everywhere is set to be the first operator of 4G in the UK after Ofcom allowed them to convert some of the spare spectrum from Orange and T-Mobile’s 3G network into a 4G network, something which rather irked the other mobile operators, namely O2 and Vodafone.

Living in London means we’re uniquely placed to take advantage of 4G when it goes live later this year, whilst Everything Everywhere won’t announce specific locations within London, they have reaffirmed that they will cover 20 million people in the first wave.

If you think the iPhone 5 is the only device which will be capable of using the new 4G network, you’ll be very much mistaken, as both Nokia and Samsung have announced exclusives with the network, namely the Lumia 920 and the Samsung Galaxy S3.

To get a sense of how fast 4G LTE actually is, compare it with your home broadband.

The UK’s average broadband download speed is 9Mb/s which is roughly what the average speed of 4G LTE will be, however it’s capable of reaching speeds of up to 40Mb/s.

That means, you can download 2GB file in 50 seconds.

At Everything Everywhere’s press conference at the Science Museum in London, Boris Johnson took to the stage where he made a typical Boris mistake, thanking Vodafone instead of Everything Everywhere.

The mayor then backtracked on his comment and said: “I’m allowed to mention Vodafone aren’t I?” which was met with nervous laughs.

Speaking of Everything Everywhere’s 4G plans the mayor welcomed the start of “this 4G revolution.”

“Information will now spout in unbelievable, unstoppable quantities from these devices,” he said, holding up several mobile phones

He then went on to make jokes about G4S making the quip “4G is obviously not to be confused with G4S.” 

Everything Everywhere aren’t the only company planning to launch LTE in the UK as Three also plans to launch a 4G network.

Three’s 4G network is to be launched using spectrum sold to them by Everything Everywhere, as a condition of Orange and T-Mobile’s merger.

When the iPhone 5 launches tomorrow all networks will be offering the device, however Everything Everywhere and Three will be unique in the fact that their 4G networks will be capable of using the 4G capability of the new iPhone.

Whilst 4G won’t be immediately available when you buy your iPhone 5 tomorrow if you buy a contract with either Orange, T-Mobile or Three, you’ll be able to migrate to a 4G contract when it launches later this year.

When O2 and Vodafone’s 4G networks launch next year though, the iPhone 5 will still be only able to utilise their 3G network, as the spectrum the companies plan to run their 4G networks on will not be compatible with the iPhone 5.

We reached out to O2 for a comment regarding the iPhone 5 with an O2 spokesperson saying: “By the time 4G becomes an all-operator service and is available to everyone in the UK, we would expect a whole range of new devices to have launched that support all UK 4G network frequencies.”

O2 have however promised that any customers who buy an iPhone 5 will be able to upgrade to a 4G device compatible with their network, even mid-way through their contract, by buying out their contract, with the company chipping in 10% of the price, and covering the VAT.

O2 expects their first 4G-enabled devices to be available by the end of the year, ready for when the network launches.

Tomorrow we’ll have more about the iPhone 5, including Central London Apple Store queue watch.

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