Mobile market missing out on LTE opportunity

Mobile broadband

The mobile industry is missing out on 4G or Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology due to arguments about spectrum, according to a financial industry heavyweight.

Maurice Patrick, director of Barclays Capital and ex-employee of O2, believes if the operators came together the UK would be much further ahead with next-generation mobile broadband but instead companies are too busy arguing over the 900MHz band.

"Mobile has missed an opportunity," he said during a Westminster eForum.

"With all this 4G spectrum up and coming we could all club together and offer one network... but the current squabbling over spectrum is getting in the way of that discussion."

Ian Fogg, a principal analyst at Forrester Research, agreed that the UK was lagging behind with this technology but also made the point that it would never take over from its fixed line counterpart.

"We are about 10 years behind in LTE," he said, "and it will be many years until this has any impact on mainstream users in the UK."

"It offers a very high peak speed but the average speed will be dramatically lower."

He added: "Capacity will be a massive issue here too. If you think about the PC it has been going mobile. What that means is that mobile networks, both 3G and 4G, are busy serving these people... there isn't spare capacity to augment this for fixed line replacements"

"[Next generation] mobile is about a 24/7 lifestyle. It won't be a mainstream way or an alternative to fibre or Virgin Media's network because of capacity [issues]," Fogg concluded.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.