This week has seen network provider Everything Everywhere once again reaffirm its commitment to unveiling 4G deployments by the end of the year: this time it called for more mobile operators to join the cause. However, questions still remain over just how ready the UK’s already convoluted IT networks are for such a transition.
It’s important to remember that the UK has never been a true 3G nation, with universal coverage and availability, and with 3G only just coming of age – from a networking perspective – there still remain many areas in the UK where 3G network coverage could only be described as ‘2.5G’ at very best.
Despite last week’s Ofcom announcement that 4G could be available this year, a delay in implementing 4G mobile services in the UK – most likely until 2015 – could actually be a ‘blessing in disguise’ as more time is needed to upgrade Britain’s unprepared network infrastructure.
The move to 4G will be a big step up for all concerned; yet telcos are already having a hard enough time responding to the increasing strain placed by 3G on their networks. When 4G finally brings fixed-line speeds to the millions of mobile devices in the UK it will increase bandwidth by a factor of four; datacentres will see an eightfold increase in data; while storage requirements will become 16 times greater.
In IT, as with most enterprise challenges, if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well. 2015 is a more practicable date for a widespread 4G rollout. More telling than Everything Everywhere’s claims is perhaps the omission from 4G proposals of Vodafone and O2, which seems to suggest to that the speculated 2012 date is just that – speculation.
It is imperative to be able to swim before taking the proverbial plunge, and the next three years should allow networking and datacentre experts sufficient time to make the necessary infrastructure upgrades to actually make 4G work when it does finally arrive.