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Everything Everywhere 'to stuff Santa's sack' with 4G Lumia 920s

Crimbo window opens for high-speed mobe monopoly

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Industry sources expect mobile network Everything Everywhere to tie up an exclusive deal with Nokia's new flagship Lumia 920 phone - providing EE can make a volume commitment to the fallen Finnish giant.

The FT reports today that discussions giving the merged Deutsche Telekom-France Telecom-owned operator an exclusive are continuing, and have not yet been finalised. Everything Everywhere operates under the Orange and T-Mobile brands in the UK.

Nokia unveiled the Lumia 920 in New York last week without disclosing pricing or availability. But the specifications [PDF] reveal that the phone will support five LTE frequencies used by 4G next-gen mobile broadband, including the 1800Mhz chunk owned by EE.

Last month, Ofcom allowed EE to launch the UK's first 4G LTE service, even though the spectrum that would allow its rivals to launch competitive services has not yet been sold at auction, and EE won't voluntarily relinquish any of its frequencies until 2013. EE thus has a 4G monopoly.

Between 2007 and 2009 Apple operated an exclusivity policy with one operator-per-market anointed to carry the iPhone. Apple was able to do so on the back of huge demand for its device – and it seems that customers were willing to switch networks to obtain the iPhone, rather than pay a premium for an unsupported grey channel device.

It's questionable whether Nokia's new devices have anything like that kind of attraction. Then again, as we wrote here, it's quite possible that the next iPhone 5 won't support LTE in the 1800Mhz band - giving Nokia's latest and greatest a little more lustre.

Any exclusivity might not be for very long, however. A November launch may give EE a tilt at the Christmas market, but it hardly helps bolster Nokia's (or Windows Phone's) meagre market share.

Ofcom has granted permission for EE to launch its snail-powered network from 11 September - tomorrow - so we may not need to wait too long. A legal challenge from O2 may delay things however. ®

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