Feeds

New mobe operator slash Wi-Fi hotspotter launches in UK

Aims to avoid the standard crash 'n' burn model

The Power of One Infographic

Just when you thought the UK mobile phone business was pretty much settled along comes UK01, claiming its place as the sixth mobile phone operator and brandishing its own GSM spectrum to prove it.

UK01 claims to be a real GSM operator, and has just signed a deal with Spectrum Interactive to put its GSM base stations into phone kiosks run by the Wi-Fi hotspot operator, establishing a few hundred locations from which UK01 customers will be able to make, and receive, calls.

Behind UK01 is a company called Mapesbury Communications Ltd, whose CEO Magnus Kelly said in a statement that "this agreement is an important milestone, as it accelerates our ability to launch the UK's 6th mobile phone network".

The spectrum used for UK01's network is around 1800MHz, so within the operating band of most mobile handsets, but the operator's licence is only for low-power deployments which will have very limited range - so customers won't be able to wander far from the kiosk bearing the UK01 service mark. They'll also have to manually select the UK01 network, as the company apparently has no roaming agreements with other operators to provide additional coverage.

The lack of roaming is unsurprising, as Mapesbury only paid around £77,000 for the limited-power licence. To get into the door of a real operator you'd need at least a billion quid's worth of spectrum.

UK01 is much more like a Wi-Fi hotspot operation, and the deal with Spectrum Interactive underlines that. Punters seeing the service mark might decide to switch to UK01 for a cheaper tariff, as long as they hang around nearby, though the company might like to remember Phone Point, Phone Zone and Rabbit as similar services that crashed and burned.

The spectrum was part of Ofcom's first spectrum auction, and the newly-formed regulator imagined it might be used for private networks or operator in-fill, both of which are being deployed by other licensees. The use of 1800MHz prevents 3G data services (3G is still corralled at 2.1GHz), so it's EDGE at best, though UK01 hasn't announced any kind of data service as yet.

We tried to speak to Mapesbury Communications to ask whether UK01 intends to expand its network, but we were told that the only chap who could help us was Mr Kelly, the CEO, and he's not around today. So we're left to speculate. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.