Four of the UK’s largest mobile service providers have come together in a bid to speed up the rollout of 4G in the UK.
EE, O2, Three and Vodafone have formed a new company in conjunction with the UK government and communications regulator Ofcom. The company’s primary mandate is to ensure that consumers continue to receive Freeview TV signals unimpeded by LTE networks.
The company is named Digital Mobile Spectrum Ltd (DMS) and will be headed in the interim by current chairman of payments regulator PhonepayPlus, Andrew Pinder. The company was formed after a series of peace talks between the network competitors this onth, which where presided over by Culture Secretary Maria Miller.
“The rollout of 4G is a huge step forward for mobile broadband services in the UK, and will be incredibly important in driving economic growth," said Miller after the DMS announcement. "I am pleased that the mobile operators will be working together to ensure that no viewers lose their television services when 4G is rolled out, and congratulate them on setting up the assistance scheme so quickly.”
Andrew Pinder added, “This is an excellent response by all mobile operators to the Minister’s challenge to set up this company as quickly as possible. It represents a real milestone and I will continue to work with all of the mobile operators and other stakeholders to get plans in place for the rapid launch of 4G services on the spectrum to be auctioned next year.”
The formation of DMS comes as EE rolls out the UK's first official 4G mobile network. The parent firm of Orange and T-Mobile angered its competitors by securing an early launch of the high-speed technology, but threats of legal action from the likes of O2 and Vodafone were dropped this month, with the the operators now focusing on preparation for their own 4G services.