BT heads into the 4G market, whilst Samsung readies 5G

For the first time in over a decade, consumers could be receiving a BT-branded mobile signal, along with the latest 4G-capabilities. But a particular South Korean company is already testing ahead...

Before we discuss this “next step” let’s investigate BT’s mobile network background, starting with Cellnet in 1985 the fruits of a venture between BT and Securicor.

Back then, as the first provider to offer WAP and GPRS, things looked great along with 11 million customers in early 2001.

After rebranding as O2, the company was shortly demerged and BT Mobile was sidelined until 2004; where BT Mobile was revived through Vodafone’s network.

Although BT offers some fantastic pricing and unique offers including unlimited access to “BT WiFi” hotspots (which covers 40% of the UK's entire Wi-Fi hotspot population) BT is still dwarfed in users by “the big three”; Everything Everywhere, Vodafone and, ironically, O2.

So there’s your history lesson, what’s happening today and in the near-future? According to Ian Livingston, chief executive of BT, he believes it is “highly possible” SIM-cards will be in customers hands by the end of the year.

BT will have fierce competition from “the big three” however; all are currently rushing to launch (or improve) their own 4G networks after Everything Everywhere’s exclusive launch last year.

Using BT’s assets to their advantage seems to be the solution; through upgrading public Wi-Fi hotspots to provide 4G access, this will “build effectively an internal, very cheap 4G network,” Mr Livingston said.

Perhaps BT will want to look to the future? Samsung certainly is. The company is currently testing its 5G platform, granted for launch not until 2020, but this is certainly forward-thinking!

The news comes from Korea’s Yonhap News Agency which reports pulling down 1Gbps of data courtesy of 64 antenna elements.

Samsung are aiming for 2020 launch due to it being the European Commission’s current launch target, who themselves have invested €50 million into 5G research.

Are you excited by BT’s return to the market with 4G? Do they have a winning strategy in place? How about Samsung’s early research into 5G?

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