As if 4G wasn't complicated enough, Orange and T-Mobile are planning to create a new brand name for its next-generation data network coming later this year.
Orange and T-Mobile's parent company Everything Everywhere denies it will merge Orange and T-Mobile, telling us that instead "we are planning to launch a new brand in the UK later this year. This new brand will sit alongside our existing brands Orange and T-Mobile."
It's bad enough we'vewithout throwing yet another brand name into the pot. Whatever it's called, the 4G network will use portions of Orange and T-Mobile's existing airwaves for LTE, which will speed up data to your phone and reach a wider audience than the current 3G network.
Vodafone, O2 and Three are up in arms about the plan, with Vodafone telling us Ofcom's decision is "shocking" and "bizarre". No wonder they're annoyed: the other networks have to wait untilbefore they can fire up their own 4G networks in 2013.
One big advantage of Orange and T-Mobile's head start is that they're first in line if the iPhone 5 turns out to pack 4G, as widely expected. The new iPad connects with LTE in the US, suggesting the next iPhone will as well -- but different countries use different frequencies, so a 4G phone in one country may not be 4G in another.
Apple tends to build one phone for the whole world rather than putting in different chips for different countries, but the 1800MHz spectrum to be used by Everything Everywhere is also used for 4G in Australia, Asia and Europe -- which means Apple is more likely to include support for that frequency, perhaps using one of Qualcomm's chips that plays nice with multiple bands.
If not, we'd be stuck with speeds akin to the new iPad -- check out our guide tofor more information.
Meanwhile Everything Everywhere has announced an agreement with Three to sell a portion of 1800MHz spectrum to the network, doubling Three's capacity. The sale was required by European merger watchdogs.