Following the announcement of Apple’s iPhone 5 and its 4G capability in the UK, Matthew Howett, practice leader of Ovum’s regulatory telecoms team, has the following comments:
“By supporting LTE using the frequencies that EE are deploying their 4G network over, EE will effectively have an initial monopoly on sales of the iPhone 5 since customers will only fully benefit from its capabilities if they take it though EE. The question will of course be how many non-EE customers will make the switch. Many will already be in contract with their existing provider, however with more than two years since the last major release (the iPhone 4), there could be a good number of people in the market for a new mobile provider.
“For Vodafone and O2, who have spoken out against EE’s early 4G launch, this could well be what they were waiting for before launching a legal challenge to Ofcom’s decision. The regulator must be fairly confident of its position and has said will be ready to defend it. The impact the challenge has on EE’s launch will crucially depend on whether a court would approve a suspension of service. If so, the reputation to what is only a one-day-old brand could prove fatal.”
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