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Mobile Operator Grabs 4G Lead In UK — But Will Anything Work On It?

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the my-toaster-is-compatible dept.

Cellphones 81

pbahra writes "Finally, the U.K. is going to get a 4G mobile-Internet service. For a country that was once at the cutting edge of mobile telephony, its lack of high-speed mobile broadband was becoming a severe embarrassment. Everything Everywhere, Britain's largest mobile network operator, has been granted permission by U.K. regulator Ofcom to provide next-generation LTE services as early as Sept. 11. Although Ofcom's ruling is a significant step for the U.K.'s telecoms future, the choice of frequency — 1,800 MHz — means that devices that can take advantage of the much faster data speeds that LTE offers — theoretically up to 100 megabits a second — are limited. Currently the only significant market using the frequency is South Korea. While 1,800 MHz is in use in a small number of European countries, and in Australia, numbers of users are small in comparison to the U.S. This means devices may be harder to get and cost more. So, anyone who thinks their new iPad is going to zip along at 4G speeds is going to be disappointed; the new iPad only supports U.S. LTE frequencies. For the same reason, those hanging on for the new iPhone, expected to be announced on Sept. 12, in the hope that it will be LTE-compliant are unlikely to have good news. Even if there is a new iPhone, and even if it is LTE-enabled, will it operate on Everything Everywhere's frequency?"

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Blackberry 10 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41076853)

The folks from RIM are currently touring the world trying to convince carriers to support their upcoming device.

Not a problem (0)

kamapuaa (555446) | about 2 years ago | (#41076873)

Japanese and Korean cell phones are way more advanced than in the US. You can watch watch OTA television programming on them!

Re:Not a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41076909)

Wait, people watch OTA television still?

Re:Not a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41077001)

It's not like U.S. television.

It seems a little silly for this submission to be complaining about the lack of consumer gear on 1800 MHz now, because having the frequencies authorized very soon is not the same thing as saying the infrastructure will be there ready to turn on nearly that soon.

Hopefully more bandwidth won't lead to a bunch of customers frustrated by eating up a monthly quota much sooner.

Re:Not a problem (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41076945)

Japanese and Korean cell phones are way more advanced than in the US. You can watch watch OTA television programming on them!

As long as it isn't Hatian or African cell phones then I can accept that. Lettin a bunch of big-lipped blue-gummed niggers out-technology us would be a serious blow to national pride.

Re:Not a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41077479)

what a loser!

Re:Not a problem (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41076953)

For Japan at least, I think you're referring to 1seg [wikipedia.org] which is a separate lower resolution digital TV broadcast channel. So the OTA TV comes over ISDB, not the cellular network. All it requires is a 1seg tuner built into the hardware. Nothing at all to do with LTE, or indeed mobile telephony for that matter.

Re:Not a problem (3, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 2 years ago | (#41077373)

Exactly.

There's no shortage of 4g capable Android phones and tablets. Samsung devices (Galaxy SII, SIII etc) are all 4g multi-region capable, as are most recent phones from other vendors.

Who cares if Apple can't get their act together with a multi-region chipset?

Re:Not a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079647)

Neither the SII nor the SIII are LTE-capable (I'm talking about the international phones, GT-I9100 and GT-I9300; the American variants use different chipsets, and different radios, are compatible with LTE-700MHz, and are basically different phones). With some ROMs, however, they could show "4G" when you are under HSUPA or HSPA+, which are commonly shown as "H" or "H+"; reason being, some American carriers market their HS*PA networks as "4G", even though it isn't, and was never seen as 4G.

Actually, only US-based smartphones seem to offer LTE on a regular basis. Funny, because the US was one of the last countries to see widespread availability of 3G (UMTS/HSDPA/etc) phones, over five years after they became commonplace in Europe.

Re:Not a problem (1)

danbob999 (2490674) | about 2 years ago | (#41081267)

the American variants use different chipsets, and different radios, are compatible with LTE-700MHz, and are basically different phones).

You forget LTE 1700 (AWS). And in the case of sprint, isn't it LTE 1900?

Re:Not a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41087879)

Exactly.

There's no shortage of 4g capable Android phones and tablets. Samsung devices (Galaxy SII, SIII etc) are all 4g multi-region capable, as are most recent phones from other vendors.

Who cares if Apple can't get their act together with a multi-region chipset?

I'm not aware of a multi-region LTE smartphone. The LTE smartphones on sale in Europe support LTE on 800/1800/2600 MHz nowadays, which means they would not work in North America. The first LTE smartphones I saw earlier this year where either 800/1800 or 800/2600. If Samsung sells a similar-named model both in Europe and North America that supports LTE, it is quite likely a different hardware revision that would not work on the other side of the Atlantic...

Great news for Aussies (2)

sapphire wyvern (1153271) | about 2 years ago | (#41076907)

The UK adopting 1800 MHz LTE is awesome news for Australians, since it means we're more likely to see compatible devices coming out earlier rather than later.

iPad 3, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy S III... these are all LTE devices, but not in Australia. It'll be nice when the manufacturers are now much more likely to deliver 1800 MHz versions much earlier in the product cycle.

Re:Great news for Aussies (2)

cheater512 (783349) | about 2 years ago | (#41076967)

Actually the Galaxy S III LTE is virtually a completely different device to what we have. E.g. only dual core, not quad core. Completely different processor.

Re:Great news for Aussies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41077439)

Correct, though there's (mostly unfounded rumours) flying around that we will be getting the LTE dualcore soon.
Though with Optus not scheduled to roll out their LTE service in Perth until Q1 2013, I'm not holding my breath =S

Re:Great news for Aussies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41080021)

Actually the South Korean version is more or less the same as the international one except it supports LTE on 800Mhz.

Re:Great news for Aussies (1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | about 2 years ago | (#41078545)

My questions is, will Everything Everywhere be rolling out LTE, or will it be LTE Advanced which Three, O2 and UK Broadband are planning to roll out when they get spectrum?

Operators were fine with the delay to getting the spectrum released as they were waiting for LTE-A to be completed. Guess you can compare LTE and LTE-A to ADSL with POTS compared to FTTP with IP phones.

Perhaps they should change their name (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41076917)

to Everything Elsewhere

Re:Perhaps they should change their name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41078733)

Anything? Anywhere?

would be more realistic

Worrisome (1, Interesting)

FeelGood314 (2516288) | about 2 years ago | (#41076955)

I'm currently working on Smart Energy products for consumers homes (ZigBee). We have devices working and interoperating in the US and else where at 2.4 GHz. The UK wants to use 900MHz because at the physical layer it has better range. I was kind of hoping the UK would give up on doing things their own way. This doesn't give me much faith.

Re:Worrisome (3, Interesting)

shitzu (931108) | about 2 years ago | (#41078233)

In mobile communications, it's the US that uses a "different" frequency band than the rest of the world, not UK.
And what has zigbee's use of *unlicensed* frequency band for short range communications have to do with anything?

Re:Worrisome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41078239)

On the other hand, you need very little bandwidth and lots of range, so 900MHz is likely to be technically better.

It also is less likely to be interfered with by WiFi routers, microwave ovens, and other things.

Re:Worrisome (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 2 years ago | (#41078913)

wha?

this frequency is the same as that used in *South Korea* which makes most of all the mobile devices around. Its also used across Asia and Australia.... in fact, you could say the only place that is "doing things their own way" is the USA (crazy, I know!).

so it doesn't appear that the UK has pulled a number out their ass, this seems to be a quite sensible decision.

Mifi (1)

prakslash (681585) | about 2 years ago | (#41077021)

If the iPad/iPhone won't work on Everything Everywhere's frequency, it would probably offer a small, pocket-sized mifi device.
That way a user's mifi device would make the 4G connection and his/her iPhone/Ipad would make a wi-fi connection to the mi-fi device.

Asia and Australia on 1800MHz (4, Informative)

johnjones (14274) | about 2 years ago | (#41077035)

most of Asia (not all) is scheduled to operate on 1800MHz

Apple got fined for not working on this frequency and claiming 4G in australia so they are more than aware !

1800 is great for Everything Everywhere as they get first mover advantage and use the same as other countries

regards

John Jones

Re:Asia and Australia on 1800MHz (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#41077507)

For a country that was once at the cutting edge of mobile telephony, its lack of high-speed mobile broadband was becoming a severe embarrassment.

Meanwhile, in America...

Can you [buffering] he..[buffering]ar me now[signal lost]?

Re:Asia and Australia on 1800MHz (4, Informative)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | about 2 years ago | (#41078563)

What a US centric report of a UK news story

The LTE frequency the UK is using is the same as Australasia, Asia and most of the world ...

The only device that cannot use the Rest of the world LTE is the iPad and they have been fined already for advertising 4G when it cannot work outside the US

Mobile coverage in the UK, 3.5G Coverage, and Broadband coverage is better in the UK than the USA ... (Behind quite a few countries in Europe though)

Re:Asia and Australia on 1800MHz (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079073)

I read this and thought what a load of drivel. The guy seems to know nothing about the rest of the universe. Our broadband speeds are a severe embarrassment? Really? Maybe our mobile broadband is not so much of an issue since we have good broadband speeds at home, unlike most of the US. As for the operating frequency, did the jack ass even look up what frequency we are currently operating on.... oh yeah, that's right, it's 1800mhz.

If your devices don't work when you are over here on your holiday then go blame the manufacturer for not putting a chipset which supports the correct frequencies.

The LTE frequency conundrum is a big headache (5, Informative)

wesley96 (934306) | about 2 years ago | (#41077063)

The article seems to imply that the carrier should have adopted US LTE frequencies.

The problem is, the North American LTE frequencies are quite different from the rest of the world. You have to expect that any NA-bound LTE devices wouldn't work on Europe or any other place.

Here's a basic rundown of the major frequencies in use:

North America: band 2 (1900MHz), band 4 (1700/2100MHz), bands 12/13/17 (700MHz)

Europe/Asia/etc.: band 3 (1800MHz), bands 5/20 (800MHz), band 7 (2.6GHz)

Because of this, even the current LTE chips with multiple frequency support has to choose between North American and European baseband firmware, necessitating separate models for NA and Europe release.

In terms of number of carriers behind each frequencies, 1.8GHz is the second most preferred after 2.6GHz. So I think it was sensible for the UK carrier to get behind it.

Personally, I'm waiting to see if there will be an LTE iPhone with non-US LTE frequency support. If this happens, device provision issue should lessen, as it is a popular phone - there will be a lot of demand and the competitors will release models with similar frequency support to prevent losing market share.

Re:The LTE frequency conundrum is a big headache (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41077605)

The major carriers in Canada run 850MHz, 1900Mhz, 2100MHz in the future(the spectrum auction is slated for spring) they will be running 700MHz in addition to 2600MHz. If I am not mistaken some of the smaller carriers run at 1700MHz and 2100MHz.

Re:The LTE frequency conundrum is a big headache (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 2 years ago | (#41077729)

The summary suggests only a few European countries have adopted 1800Mhz. Whether that implies that those countries are the first to adopt LTE or there are other countries that chose an alternative isn't clear. But certain from a cost benefit and interoperability position, it would be prudent to use the dominant EU wide technology.

Is the choice in the iPhone 5 even relevant at this point? Apple got some flack where I live for advertising their product as 4G that wouldn't work with our carriers but the devices still sold like hotcakes.

Re:The LTE frequency conundrum is a big headache (5, Informative)

arkhan_jg (618674) | about 2 years ago | (#41078323)

It's mainly that 4G rollout is still in its infancy in the EU. We're all going to be using the same frequency bands, mainly 2.6Ghz and 1.8Ghz - the plan is to eventually retire all the 2G frequencies and re-use them them for 3G, 4G or other services.

The UK using the same bands as the rest of the EU (and most of asia) has been the plan for a long time. In this specific case, the public auctions of spectrum for 4G have not yet taken place - we have to finish turning off analog TV to free some of the spectrum planned, though it's nearly done. But EE (merged tmobile & orange) already have some spectrum 'in hand', in the 1800Mhz band that is due to be allocated to 4G, so they've been allowed to go ahead with an early 4G rollout on the frequencies they already have in the UK.

In any case, the 700MHz band in the US is already in use by freeview (OTA digital TV), 2100Mhz is in use by 3G; I forget the others, but it's already all in use, so there was never any chance a US-bound 4G device would work in the UK, or the rest of the EU. While the old 'quad band' approach may eventually work, currently there's too many bands to support in each area; you'd need something like a 9 band 4G device for true global coverage! Too expensive, too power hungry.

So currently ipads, iphones ship with US 4G frequency support, no matter where you buy them; which was always going to be useless outside the US, and apple got rapped for advertising 4G support prominently on their devices in the UK when they knew that they would never work in the UK or the EU. Same happened in australia, which uses the same bands.

Eventually they'll presumably ship EU/asia 4G devices, same as they did with the 3G support where the same problem exists.

Re:The LTE frequency conundrum is a big headache (3, Interesting)

arkhan_jg (618674) | about 2 years ago | (#41078471)

Incidentally, further to my above answer, 4G rollout is in its infancy in the EU because 3.5G (HSPA+) rollout has been so large. HSPA+ is fairly comparable to LTE in speed in real world usage (though LTE can go faster with enough bandwidth and antennas, 300Mb/s vs 168Mb/s); so with 3.5G so widely available, there hasn't been the driving need to push out 4G LTE very urgently.

I understand some mobile carriers are actually calling HSPA+ 4G in the US; which is a bit cheeky, really. On that basis, the EU has had 4G widely deployed for quite a while now...

Re:The LTE frequency conundrum is a big headache (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41078167)

What's so hard about making phones that support all frequency bands? It worked before 3 and 4G, so why not now, anymore?

Certainly the device is capable (1)

EzInKy (115248) | about 2 years ago | (#41077213)

Certainly the device is capable of speeds less than "4G", is it not? If it is, than surely something will work on it. If it is not then it destined to the dustbin of history. Seriously though, what manufacturer would market a device that is completely incompatible with every other existing technololgy?

Advice on English Prepaid SIM (0)

friedmud (512466) | about 2 years ago | (#41077271)

I'm headed to England soon for vacation and need some advice on prepaid SIMs. I'm going to be mostly in the Blackpool/Preston/Manchester area... I'm going to have my first gen iPad with me which I successfully ran on a 3G prepaid SIM in Australia last year and I'd like to do that again.

Anyone have some advice on what service to go with in that area of England? I don't need anything crazy... just a couple of gigabytes total will work.

Thanks!

Re:Advice on English Prepaid SIM (1)

Djehuty3 (1371395) | about 2 years ago | (#41077357)

If you want data, O2 or 3 are the way to go.

If you want a cheap phone you can just bin at the end of your stay, Tesco sell a pay as you go for £15 - it used to come with £10 credit already on it, but I don't know if that still holds true. Tesco also just resell O2 airtime, so make of that what you will. Note that Tesco will also multiply credit at certain levels - if you put in £10, they'll triple it to £30, £15 gets you £45 and £20 gets you £60. 1GB is £7.50 - but make sure to request a Data Bundle.

Three really only shine on Contracts - don't know much about their tarrifs.

Orange, which along with T-Mobile forms Everything Everywhere, will give you what is effectively a contract level of access, provided you pay in at least £10 pcm, and what you get varies by the profile - I believe I'm on Dolphin, which means I get a buttload of texts, very little talktime and meagre data.

Re:Advice on English Prepaid SIM (1)

friedmud (512466) | about 2 years ago | (#41077647)

Thanks for the pointers... it's looking like 3 is the way to go. They have a £10 pay as you go plan that comes with 500MB of data. Sounds perfect for a couple of weeks and it looks like they have decent coverage where I'll be...

Anyone have specific experience with 3 in the Preston/Blackpool area?

Re:Advice on English Prepaid SIM (1)

shitzu (931108) | about 2 years ago | (#41078267)

Don't worry about areas. In Europe, a network usually covers the whole country and the signal is everywhere except deep in the woods.

Re:Advice on English Prepaid SIM (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 2 years ago | (#41078359)

it's looking like 3 is the way to go. They have a £10 pay as you go plan that comes with 500MB of data.

I think Three is still one of the better PAYG deals, but its a shame they cut the plan down a bit a while back. When I switched to Three PAYG they did 150MB of "free" data every time you top up (minimum 5 pound) which expired after 90 days, free on-network calls, and a 5 pound bundle that gave you 2GB for a month. By the time my fiancée switched to Three they had cut the "free" 150MB so it expires after 30 days, no more free calls and the 5 pound bundle is now only 500MB. For a while, they kept me on my original terms, but a few months ago cut my "free" 150MB expiry down to 45 days.

One thing to watch out for is that Three claim they will SMS you when your bundle is about to run out, bun in reality this almost never happens and if you're not paying attention you drop onto their expensive per-megabyte charges. I can recommend the My3 Droid android widget (70 pence) for keeping an eye on this.

Re:Advice on English Prepaid SIM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079385)

The per-meg charges only happen on contract.

On pre-pay (Pay as you go) you just lose connectivity when you exceed your limit, it's then a case of buying more data. It's currently £10 for 1Gb, £15 for 3 and £25 for 7 (all expire after 30 days if not fully used), or £2 for a one day / 500Mb pass.

Re:Advice on English Prepaid SIM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41078501)

My brother in Preston has a 3 sim in his iphone, and he streams live football from Sky Go all day long without an issue. 3 is definitely the way forward.

Out of interest, why on earth are you going on holiday there?!

Re:Advice on English Prepaid SIM (2)

XsCode (639295) | about 2 years ago | (#41078933)

Maybe he likes run down post-industrial wastelands and cheap hen/stag-night infested vomit covered seaside towns? ... who wouldn't?

Re:Advice on English Prepaid SIM (1)

friedmud (512466) | about 2 years ago | (#41080587)

lol - well... I have work in the area but my wife is going with me to see some parts of the UK we haven't seen yet. I don't know that Preston would have been our first choice for going back to the UK... but the decision was made for us.

Thanks for the info on 3!

Re:Advice on English Prepaid SIM (1)

Alioth (221270) | about 2 years ago | (#41091985)

I bought a 3 MiFi in Blackpool, coverage seems to be fine. I use the £10 payg data with the MiFi whenever I'm in the UK (or the £3 one day thing if I'm just passing, it's a lot cheaper than airport WiFi)

Re:Advice on English Prepaid SIM (1)

BBCWatcher (900486) | about 2 years ago | (#41078011)

GiffGaff runs on the O2 network. They offer 500 MB for only £5 (or 1 GB for £7.50). You need to open the account with a minimum of £10 of credit. Just buy a GiffGaff (preferable) or O2 £10 card at any mobile top-up counter -- at petrol stations, post offices, off licences (convenience stores), etc. SIMs are free when mailed to a domestic U.K. address, but make sure to order a MicroSIM for an iPad. Activate online (via wifi). Smartphone rates are great, too.

Re:Advice on English Prepaid SIM (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 years ago | (#41078689)

If you want mostly data, I'd go for GiffGaff (5p/text, 10p/min) and get one of their data goody bags (£5 for 500MB - £12.50 for 3GB) or if you want to make a lot of calls or don't want tethering then get one of their other goody bags (£10 for 250 minutes, unlimited texts, unlimited phone-only Internet). If you want calls and texts, I'd go with with TalkMobile (4p/text, 8p/min).

For the iPad, GiffGaff plus their 3GB goody bag is probably what you want. You need to order the SIM online, but you can usually just get it delivered to your hotel. It usually takes a few days to arrive, so order it before you leave and let the place you're staying know to expect it...

Re:Advice on English Prepaid SIM (1)

XsCode (639295) | about 2 years ago | (#41078919)

I live in Preston and work in Blackpool. Signal wise, pretty much all UK carriers have good signals in local areas, but cost wise O2 probably have the best deal with £10/month giving unlimited data.

Stupid question for the EEs here (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | about 2 years ago | (#41077281)

Why are the transceivers hardwired for one band? Is it really that hard to make one that's switchable between bands? Or is it the antennas?
Sorry, dumb CSer with only basic EE here :)

Re:Stupid question for the EEs here (2, Insightful)

aXis100 (690904) | about 2 years ago | (#41077337)

Short Answer: Yes

Longer answer: Yeeeeesssss

Really long answer: Yes, it's technically very demanding at the best of times, let alone when you have to deal with size and battery power constraints.

Re:Stupid question for the EEs here (1)

hande1 (1619561) | about 2 years ago | (#41078211)

I too am interested in the OPs question - but unfortunately that answer didn't give us anything.

Re:Stupid question for the EEs here (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 2 years ago | (#41078499)

The answer was correct. You've been told it is not a marketing or regulatory issue. It is very hard to make a phone that switches between lots of bands. One major reason is antenna design. If you only have basic EE, you won't know enough to understand why. Antenna theory is hard work, as is the design of very, very tiny tuned circuits with narrow passbands at microwave frequencies in close proximity.

Re:Stupid question for the EEs here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41077383)

They need not be. Even the new iPad for AT&T can work in either 700MHz or 1700/2100MHz bands. For 2G and 3G, quad- or penta-band are often used. The problem has to do with there being too many frequencies that are, or will be used for LTE. Baseband designs therefore have to cut off somewhere even if there were multiple carrier support in mind. Usually, though, manufacturers just decide to target a specific carrier, since each carrier wants some model differentiation anyway. So you end up with where we are now.

Re:Stupid question for the EEs here (1)

jquirke (473496) | about 2 years ago | (#41080181)

Sure the digital baseband is all the same, as the signal coming in is usually at a specific IF regardless of the band.

It is the old fashioned hard wired analog circuitry that is the issue, and that is not just the antenna.

Think filters, duplexers, etc which are designed and optimised for a certain band. Not to mention amplifiers and mixers. As someone who has designed active RF & microwave circuits, it is not easy achieving broadband filtering and impedance matching at multiple bands. So you need to have multiple filters, components, etc, which adds $$ to cost. So you pick a handful of bands that you want to support, and swap the components depending on the regional variation of your model.

Apple does not support new frequencies (0)

gavron (1300111) | about 2 years ago | (#41077369)

All of Apple's products support the old 3G frequencies. 1.8GHz is not in that range.
That's why they traditionally have slower network access than any other devices
(Android, etc.).

The devices are "capable of 4G" but since they aren't designed to DO 4G they
DON'T DO 4G.

Typical apple.

E

I'm confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41077423)

TFA says something like "but will anything work?!" and then it gives one (1) example of something that doesn't, the iPad.
I mean whoop-di-doo. The iPad doesn't work on 4G here in Japan either, last I checked. And there would be more people here who care than in the US. (There are less people overall, but I can promise more LTE demanding consumers).

Companies who want to sell their warez will make it work with the required frequencies. That's been the case with 3G, and I doubt you should expect it to change with the advent of LTE.

One thing to mention... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41077523)

Rather than trying to get a phone that works with LTE, or an iPad or whatever. Get a portable ROUTER that works with it. The main thing you will want it for is when you are using your laptop anyway. You can share the connection with your phone, etc. no problem. you can share to multiple devices while paying only one data plan, you can pick whatever devices you want, so long as they have WiFi, and you can upgrade the router as possible without worrying about compatibility.

Not a big fan of blaming party politics, but... (1)

Shemmie (909181) | about 2 years ago | (#41077533)

Thanks Labour. Because they managed to auction the 3G network off for such a huge, huge price, I suspect most mobile operators in the UK held off, wanting to get their moneys worth from the deal. Because it was such a huge sum, I can only assume they've dragged their feet, as our mobile networks join our broadband network in slipping way behind.

Re:Not a big fan of blaming party politics, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41078405)

Wait, you are blaiming the auctioneer for the fact that the bidders bid "to much"? They (operators) could have tried to pay less, but profits were at an all time high and they needed room to expand. All was fine until recently people actually started to use data instead of voice minutes (the cash cow).

Re:Not a big fan of blaming party politics, but... (1)

Mark Hood (1630) | about 2 years ago | (#41078967)

The government of the time (and I'm not a fan of theirs) believed they did the best job for the taxpayer - they had a resource (bandwidth) and got a great price for it from the private sector. Do you blame the seller on eBay when all the other bidders push the price too high for you?

And of course, they botched the sale of all our gold reserves, but that's a whole different debate.

The operators bid high as the auction happened at the peak of the DotCom bubble, and the money was flowing nicely. Of course then the bubble burst, someone woke up and said 'you paid how much? we still have to buy all the hardware yet!' and they didn't invest as much in the infrastructure as they should have, so 3G took longer to show up than originally hoped. You can understand why they're not going to fall for that again...

There's a slightly angry summary on WikiPedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecoms_crash [wikipedia.org]

I love standards... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41077961)

I love standards! ...there's so many of them to choose from!!

How about good 2G/3G coverage in the UK now? (1)

hankwang (413283) | about 2 years ago | (#41078157)

I'm on holiday in the UK (Scotland, that is) and I have been rather unimpressed by the cell phone coverage here. Since I'm roaming, I can see the coverage for various providers (Vodafone, T-Mobile, O2, Orange). From within buses and trains on the countryside, most of the time there is zero coverage for any provider. In villages and small towns, Vodafone/O2/Orange have 2G coverage (at crawling 1 kbyte/s-or-less speeds), but only if you are outdoors in the right street; indoors and just around the corner, the signal may drop to zero bars. T-mobile has 3G, but even in fewer places than the other ones (I suppose 3G has inherently a smaller range from the tower). And I won't talk about using a cell phone while walking on a trail in the mountains/hills/shore... Even while walking around in the center of Edinburgh, I regularly get zero bars.

The good thing about it is that in the trains, buses, and restaurants, the other people are not bothering me with their phone conversations. :-)

There's a website that collects coverage data through an Android app and publishes them online: Sensorly [sensorly.com] , which confirms that it's mostly 2G in Scotland. Regarding spatial coverage, it suffers a bit from undersampling, though.

Note: my experience is from an HTC Desire S phone in a silicone rubber casing; I noticed in the past that the silicon reduces the GPS sensitivity, but I never noticed a difference for 2G/3G signals.

Re:How about good 2G/3G coverage in the UK now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41078337)

There may be something wrong with your phone. 2G/3G coverage is excellent in cities such as Edinburgh, and through most of central Scotland. 3G is certainly patchy in the Highlands but, aside from the tops of mountains, I find it rare to lose 2G signal completely.

Re:How about good 2G/3G coverage in the UK now? (1)

hankwang (413283) | about 2 years ago | (#41078487)

and through most of central Scotland. 3G is certainly patchy in the Highlands ... aside from the tops of mountains

I'm not sure which definition of Central Scotland [wikipedia.org] you use, but I guess the Highlands is where I spent most of my holiday. My complaints are mainly about Pitlochry, Plockton, Kyle of Lochalsh, Fort William, the connections in between, and the train trip from Fort William to Glasgow).

My wife has a different phone and, although she is not trying to get internet access all the time, noticed the same thing: it's her first holiday destination since long with such unreliable mobile-phone coverage.

Re:How about good 2G/3G coverage in the UK now? (1)

xaxa (988988) | about 2 years ago | (#41078699)

and through most of central Scotland. 3G is certainly patchy in the Highlands ... aside from the tops of mountains

I'm not sure which definition of Central Scotland [wikipedia.org] you use,

Probably "Central Belt" (though I live in the far South of England, so ICBW).

but I guess the Highlands is where I spent most of my holiday. My complaints are mainly about Pitlochry, Plockton, Kyle of Lochalsh, Fort William, the connections in between, and the train trip from Fort William to Glasgow).

The countryside around those settlements are some of the most remote in the UK. For example, your train passed through , which is so remote there are no public roads to it (there is a public footpath). [wikipedia.org]

However, I did a trip to the Highlands with some friends a couple of years ago, and we never had problems in towns and villages. (We had three cars, and regularly lost each other, so I know there was coverage. Also, one guy was always tweeting pictures). Are you sure your phone is fully compatible with all the non-US frequencies? If it were only tri-band I think you might get some coverage, but only sometimes.

You should definitely have no problem at all in Edinburgh (except, perhaps, in thick-walled stone buildings).

Re:How about good 2G/3G coverage in the UK now? (1)

hankwang (413283) | about 2 years ago | (#41078769)

Are you sure your phone is fully compatible with all the non-US frequencies?

I live in Netherlands, so I guess it is. I have always been curious to know at which frequency my phone is operating with various providers, but I couldn't find any Android apps that do this; apparently, the inner working of the phone radio is shielded from the user-facing APIs.

You should definitely have no problem at all in Edinburgh

It's less of a problem here in Edinburgh, indeed, but inside old-town buildings (pubs etc.) the coverage is sometimes bad. I don't know how thick the walls of those are. But it could also be a problem with my home provider (Vodafone Netherlands), which seemed to be in the Dutch news yesterday because of mobile internet disturbances - maybe also affecting customers abroad.

Re:How about good 2G/3G coverage in the UK now? (1)

nojayuk (567177) | about 2 years ago | (#41079151)

My rather dated 900MHz mobile phone (a Nokia 7110 on Tesco branded O2) in my bedroom in an Edinburgh tenement (ObUS: brownstone) typically shows zero or one bar of signal strength and sometimes drops out completely. There are three or four 50cm-thick sandstone walls between me and the nearest cell towers which cover a busy trunk road outside my door and a mainline railway station about a hundred metres away. I think higher frequency services carrying data etc. would be even less capable of penetrating the building.

Re:How about good 2G/3G coverage in the UK now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41078389)

The map on Sensorly is misleading. I don't know how the gather data but, given that 2G cell towers have a range of up to 35KM, the basic pattern shown on the map with signal concentrated within in a few hundred metres of roads in rural areas isn't indicative of actual signal availability.

For better coverage maps, try the network supplier's web sites e.g. http://www.o2.co.uk/coveragechecker , http://www.vodafone.co.uk/vodafone-uk/business-coverage/index.htm , http://search.orange.co.uk/ouk/portal/coveragechecker.html .

Re:How about good 2G/3G coverage in the UK now? (1)

hankwang (413283) | about 2 years ago | (#41078423)

The map on Sensorly is misleading. I don't know how the gather data but,

They gather data from handsets running the Sensorly app in conjunction with GPS. Therefore you only get data for locations where there are or have been people and that tends to be along roads. In sparsely populated areas like Scotland, the data can be based on just one or two people.

Re:How about good 2G/3G coverage in the UK now? (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 2 years ago | (#41078959)

Scotland is a bit of an awkward place for mobile signals - you have 1 of 2 problems.

First, the population is small and the land is large. Hence - few masts get put up, and no masts get put up in the middle of nowhere.

Second, Edinburgh has good coverage, but it is built like a MC Escher painting [wikispaces.com] , imagine a canyon with a bridge over it, and housing/shops/pubs in the valley, and on the bridge, and in the bridge. And all made out of thick, solid stone. Its no wonder your coverage is patchy.

Re:How about good 2G/3G coverage in the UK now? (1)

hankwang (413283) | about 2 years ago | (#41079297)

"the population (of Scotland) is small and the land is large."

I have been in Norway many times, including at remote places well above the arctic circle, which are at least as sparsely populated and it was better than here, although I sometimes had to stand upright rather than lie flat in my tent. At least I wasn't surrounded by steel.

Now in Edinburgh trying to post this over 3.5G...

Re:How about good 2G/3G coverage in the UK now? (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | about 2 years ago | (#41079311)

I use Three and travel a lot in the UK. I haven't noticed any notable coverage problems outside of losing my signals inside tunnels when on trains on my Google Nexus S.

It could be worse... (3, Insightful)

Miamicanes (730264) | about 2 years ago | (#41078319)

At least wireless companies in Britain haven't started soldering embedded SIM cards to the circuit board to force users to pay criminally overpriced international roaming charges from (*cough*) "strategic global roaming partners" when their customers travel overseas, instead of buying a prepaid SIM from a local network.

Sadly, this isn't an artificial, contrived example. Sprint did it to their new "world" phone, the Motorola Photon Q. Apparently, Verizon is chomping at the bit to start doing the same. When I first read about it, all I could think of was the quote from 1984 about the boot stepping on a face.

Re:It could be worse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41080415)

...and Ericsson/Akamai haven't delivered their 2-speed mobile internet in the UK yet either. They're busy working out the wrinkles in the US and Asia first. Then we'll get that utter crock of immoral shite (assuming the regulator gets bought off, as they probably will). Then hold tight for Facebook pushing their mobile service...

Can't wait :-(

Everything Everywhere? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41078371)

Never heard of them.

I had to google to find out that it was the new bastard name that the merged Orange/T-Mobile were calling themselves. I also see that they're sub-letting part of their allocation to 3 Mobile, another lacklustre UK provider, to offset some of the insane price they paid to OFCOM for the licence.

Won't be affecting me, I don't plan on getting a "4G" phone anytime soon; as noted elsewhere, even 2G coverage is still patchy and 3G even worse!

Re:Everything Everywhere? (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | about 2 years ago | (#41080963)

I travel a lot in the UK and I cannot reproduce your problems, why does it work for me?

Re:Everything Everywhere? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41086645)

Depends on where you travel. :-)

Dear America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41078479)

There are other countries in the world, who collectively have more population than you do.

Signed,

Everyone Everywhere Else.

Up to 100Mb/s? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41078589)

Hah, hah, what? I'm still getting less than 1Mb/s on my ADSL. Mobile "broadband" has been slower than dialup whenever I've used it.

Yep, the UK has gone alone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41078705)

By following the rest of the entire fucking planet?

Life is like packaging (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41078877)

Life is like to buy a packaging, buy a good packaging like to find a good object, we mutually consistent. Buy a bad package, simply do not fit your product, but not worth the candle, if forced to use an incompatibility with their own objects, even if married, it will not last long. Cherish life, to find a good object, buy a good packages.
Website: http://www.zetarpackaging.com
Email: info@zetarpackaging.com

What's the point of 4G (1)

DrXym (126579) | about 2 years ago | (#41080011)

Operators are imposing ludicrous download limits on their networks that a 4G device could probably burn through it's entire monthly allowance in about 10 minutes flat. What the hell is the point of that?

If phone operators really want people to adopt 4G they'd better ensure that the broadband limits are high enough that they allow for reasonable usage and the price is low enough to be attractive. By reasonable I mean within the context of a device equipped with high speed internet and capable of delivering HD streaming video. That means at least 50GB a month and preferably more if they expect to steal business from landline / fibre providers.

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