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4G should be later not sooner, moans Vodafone

The big red network is irate about Orange and T-Mobile being allowed to launch 4G services in the UK this year.

Mobile operators love nothing better than sticking stupid restrictions on what you and I can do with the expensive gadgets we pay a large toll to own and use each month. And when they're not doing all they can to dissuade us from watching iPlayer or using Skype on that thing we pay them a monthly premium to use, they're squabbling with each other.

UK telecoms watchdog Ofcom's decision to allow Orange and T-Mobile -- united under the ridiculously named 'Everything Everywhere' banner -- to kick off 4G services by the end of this year has riled fellow network Vodafone right up.

What's eating Voda? The operator that can't spell phone doesn't think it's fair that Everything Everywhere is being allowed to use existing spectrum for 4G services, instead of having to wait for the official spectrum auction -- long delayed because, you guessed it, the operators didn't want to have to retire Daisy the lucrative 3G cash-cow, so they called in the lawyers to dilly-dally proceedings and keep Daisy grazing as long as possible.

According to Market Watch, quoting a Sunday Times interview, Vodafone's UK chief Guy Laurence has accused Ofcom of "taking leave of its senses" by allowing Everything Everywhere to launch 4G services by the end of 2012.

And by 'its senses' he means 'our bottom line'.

The clearly irate Laurence added that Ofcom "is all but agreeing to grant the largest player in the market a head-start on the next generation of mobile Internet services". Aw, diddums!

Laurence also reportedly told the Sunday Times that Everything Everywhere will now "be free to bog down" the forthcoming spectrum auction in endless litigation -- thereby preventing other operators from building faster networks.

The phrase 'cosmic karma' springs to mind.

At the time of writing, Orange and T-Mobile hadn't responded to a request for comment on Voda's rant. Presumably because they were too busy rubbing their hands together with glee and cackling maniacally.

Are you as hopping mad as Vodafone that you'll have the chance to get some 4G services this year? Or are you more irate that Vodafone reckons you should have to wait longer? Tell us what you think in the comments below, or rant all about it on our Facebook page.

Update: Everything Everywhere got in touch with a response to Laurence's comments. "It is our aspiration to bring 4G to the UK as soon as possible, enabling the people and businesses of Britain to benefit from the fastest mobile data speeds, and to allow the country to catch up with Europe and the rest of the world," said a spokesperson for the company.

"As the Prime Minister noted this morning, the USA already has 4G capacity in place and our major European competitors are ahead of us in setting up their own 4G networks.

"The EU has already mandated the updating of all spectrum licences across Europe, and consequently Ofcom is now carrying out its duty to make this happen quickly for British consumers and businesses. We fully support this."