iPhone 5, 4G, fun & games and VoIP?

Posted by CJD on September 17, 2012

Anybody remotely interested in technology and telephony can’t have failed to notice the noise about the new developments in mobile in the last few days and weeks.

Pre-orders for Apple’s new phone – or cash cow & annual profit grab – were over-subscribed within a couple of hours of their announcement and Ofcom decided that it was going to let Everything Everywhere (a conglomerate of Orange and T-Mobile hereinafter referred to as EE) provide a UK 4G service before the other two mobile operators.

Put those two facts together and combine them with a third – the fact that the iPhone 5 will never, ever work on any other network than EE’s and you’ve got a really interesting commercial problem for Vodafone and Telefonica (02). They are essentially locked out of a new market and I’m really surprised that there hasn’t been a plethora of law suits. (Just what is the collective noun for lawsuits? A murder?)

The reason why EE has a monopoly on iPhone 5 in the UK, forever, is because it will launch its 4G service on a bit of the radio spectrum that is already owns – 1800MHz – which, by an enormous stroke of good fortune for them, is already supported by the iPhone 5 as it’s a US and Continental Europe standard. Here in the UK, the 4G frequencies are at 800MHz and 2.6 GHz and won’t become available until mid 2013 at the earliest. So if you want 4G on anything other than EE’s network (and maybe Three’s too) you’re going to have to wait, and then you’re going to have to use an HTC or Samsung or other non-Apple device.

That is, unless Apple develops a network specific iPhone 5 just for the UK and I can’t see that happening – they’re going to wait for the iPhone 6 – or cash cow & annual profit grab – aren’t they?

Well that’s all jolly interesting, but what does all this mean for VoIP? Well that get’s even more interesting. But that’s another story……..

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