The wireless week

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Europe was late to the 4G party but the UK was even later, with a combination of squabbling operators and lack of spectrum delaying the rollout of LTE. But according to new figures this week, there are now six million 4G LTE subscribers, amounting to around eight percent of all mobile subscriptions.

The impact of OTT services such as Skype and WhatsApp were underlined in the Ofcom report, which found SMS volumes slumped by almost a quarter. Unsurprisingly, young people are the most active users of OTT services, mainly because of their video calling facilities.

Our most read story this week was Nokia Networks' new product, a quick to set up LTE network. The vendor is aiming it at the emergency services and event organisers, with the product able to be set up and running in less than an hour.

There was plenty more discussion around London’s plans, announced last week, to become a 5G ready city by 2020. Phil Sorsky, VP Europe at CommScope, said: “The rollout of any new generation of mobile network is never as simple as flicking a switch. In order to make 5G a reality we must first ask if the fundamental technicalities of 5G are understood, and what it is that has to be delivered over and above its predecessors. The first and most essential step to defining and ultimately rolling out 5G will be ensuring it stands not only as a platform that can accommodate this growth, but also provides a speedier, more efficient network that is far more easily accessible, from all types of devices in more types of applications, than 4G.”

Elsewhere in mobile, Deutsche Telekom’s Chairman Tim Höttges had to repeatedly rebuff questions about the future of its US T-Mobile arm, with it the target of French player Iliad. All he would say is the current offer “does not provide value” and there are no other offers in place for the operator.

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After years in the doldrums, Canadian handset maker BlackBerry said it is ready to make money again, after it completed a painful restructuring process that saw it lose around 10,000 jobs from its 2011 peak. Security looks to be one area it will focus on, with BlackBerry recently buying German voice and data encryption company Secusmart.

In a memo obtained by Reuters, company CEO, and turnaround specialist John Chen maintained there was “no margin for error to complete BlackBerry's turnaround to success".

Expect to read about Apple and only Apple on September 9, according to a report on Re/Code. The iPhone 6 is scheduled to be revealed then, with a late September launch expected. Pretty much every modern piece of wireless technology has been rumoured to fit on the device from Category 6, wireless charging and VoLTE, along with the perennial hope for Near Field Communication compatibility. Apple could go one further and also reveal a wearable iTime/iWatch device.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported Google is under increasing pressure from the European Commission, regarding Android. The digital giant is reportedly under scrutiny over concerns it is promoting its own products on the mobile phone ecosystem at the expense of rivals'.