The UK telecoms regulator, Ofcom, confirmed today that Everything Everywhere, the largest UK mobile operator, can switch on its LTE network from September 2012 onward. Assuming there are no last-minute glitches, EE will be the first major UK carrier to launch a live, commercial 4G network. The UK is Western Europe's biggest cellphone and dongle market by shipments.
Interestingly, the EE switch-on -- probably branded "4G Everywhere" -- will come right around the same time as Apple's rumored new iPhone 5 4G in September / October 2012. Is EE gearing up quietly for a big LTE iPhone 5 promotion in Q4 2012? If (a big if) this happens, if it is executed successfully, and if both phone and network support the correct 1.8GHz LTE band, then EE could potentially win a major coup over rival 3G carriers like Three. Moreover, established smartphone vendors at EE -- like Samsung, Nokia and RIM -- could find themselves under a serious competitive assault from Apple. This report -- published by our Country Share Tracker (CST) service -- tracks UK cellphone vendor marketshare by operator, and it shows several brands, like RIM, would have much to lose from an EE 4G plus iPhone 4G combo in the fourth quarter UK holiday season.