MP welcomes 4G 'boost to economy'

By Giles Broadbent on August 22, 2012 12:55 PM |

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Docklands MP Stephen Timms today welcomed a decision by Ofcom to introduce 4G services ahead of an auction of the airwaves next year.

The watchdog has allowed T-Mobile and Orange to use some of their existing spectrum for superfast mobile broadband services - a decision that will spur economic growth, says the East Ham MP and shadow minister for employment.

Mr Timms said: "With the UK recession apparently getting worse, I welcome Ofcom's decision to reuse spectrum so UK consumers can start to access next generation 4G mobile services as early as this year.

"This is the right decision for investment, economic growth and job creation. It will allow the UK to start catching up with the 40 other countries that already have faster mobile internet."

4G has the potential to provide consumers with faster downloads, more reliable connections and wider mobile broadband coverage.

Everything Everywhere, which owns the T-Mobile and Orange brands, stole a march on rivals. The company, jointly owned by Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom has been rewarded for installing the equipment for 4G since the start of the year, well before the bidding phase in 2013.

Rival Vodafone said: "We are frankly shocked. The regulator has shown a careless disregard for the best interests of consumers, businesses and the wider economy through its refusal to regard the competitive distortion created by allowing one operator to run services before the ground has been laid."

Mr Timms said: "Introduction of 4G will help local businesses thrive, and make Britain a more attractive place for investment."

A study by independent consultancy Capital Economics concludes that 4G could attract £5.5billion of investment and support 125,000 jobs over the next three years.

A spokesman for Everything said: "We look forward to making it available later this year, delivering superfast mobile broadband to the UK."

It is expected that 4G will allow users to download an album in as little as 60 seconds or a movie in 10 minutes, compared with an hour or more for 3G.