UK's 'bumbling' spectrum auction has dented LTE efforts


Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology has barely made a dent in the UK's mobile networks and it seems our lax attitude towards dividing spectrum could be to blame.

This was the conclusion of Spirent, a communications and networking testing company, who told IT PRO LTE couldn't take off on our shores until we caught up with US attitudes.

"You cannot underestimate the importance of spectrum," said Nigel Wright, vice president of wireless product marketing, during an interview at NetEvents in Barcelona.

"The UK [is] bumbling about with the specturm auction... and, irrespective of other technologies, the availability of spectrum - and in the US, great spectrum - is what is needed for LTE."

Wright also claimed the US had a much more competitve market driving forward the adoption, as well as development of the technology.

"Europe is definitely behind the manic competition in the US," he said. "It has gone mad."

"The thermo-nucleur attitude since T-Mobile kicked it off and the US desire for broadband anywhere has got companies worked up."

However, Wright didn't believe it was massively affecting consumers who mostly weren't in the know about the speeds that could be achieved through LTE.

"From an end user perspective, they do not need to go to LTE today," he said. "An end user couldn't care less."

"Those that are tech savy say they want LTE today but others just want to be able to stream their content, which we can do already."

A number of LTE trials have kicked off in the UK from the likes of O2 and Alcatel Lucent - partnered with Arqiva - but the technology is still not widely available.

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.