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Virgin Media in talks to launch 4G service in UK this year

Virgin Media could join EE as a 4G LTE mobile network provider here in the UK before the end of the year.

The move would be a natural one, as Virgin Mobile already piggybacks on the shared Orange and T-Mobile signal here in the UK. EE will launch later this year as the UK’s first 4G network, and customers on Orange, T-Mobile and Virgin Media will be able to share its 3G and 2G service if needed.

EE’s 4G signal will run on the 1800MHz spectrum, and according to The Enquirer, Virgin Media is currently in talks with the network to cut some sort of a sharing deal. When pressed about the possibility, a spokesperson for the company explained;

“People are increasingly using smartphones, tablets and other connected devices to get online and 4G will play an important part in meeting the growing demand for wireless capacity.

“Launching 4G services this year promises to bring significant benefits to UK consumers as people begin to make the most of forthcoming superfast mobile connections.”

As it stands, at the moment EE will be the first and only provider for the rest of the year to offer 4G LTE connectivity alongside compatible products, such as smartphones, tablets and mobile broadband dongles. Rival network Three has already purchased some of EE’s 4G spectrum, and so in theory will be the second network to offer such connectivity.

Virgin aside, it looks as though EE’s 4G network may not be available as quickly as they would have hoped. Rival networks Vodafone and O2, who have been complaining about EE’s position as being ‘unfair’ for some time now, are apparently threatening legal action which could push back the launch of the new network.

Whether EE will allow Virgin Mobile to offer 4G ahead of Orange and T-Mobile remains to be seen – we don’t think it will, but you never know. Stay tuned for the latest on 4G in the UK.

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