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iPhone 5 launch could re-ignite 4G row?

Orange and T-mobile will be able to offer access to EE's 4G network for the iPhone5 beating rivals by up to a year fuelling the dispute with Ofcom.

Apple launched the long-awaited new version of the rectangular box with rounded corners yesterday.

The big news for the UK market is that Apple say the iPhone5 will be compatible with EE's 4G product on their 1800MHz frequencies. As EE look like being the only network able to offer a 4G network within the next year, this will be a considerable incentive for those upgrading to the latest iPhone to move from their existing suppliers.

This won't go down well with Vodafone, O2 & 3 who, under direct pressure from the culture secretary, signed a "stand still” agreement for a month to try to establish a collective way forward for 4G rather than allow the dispute to escalate into a legal battle that would delay 4G development.

One has to question the decision of Ofcom for creating the situation where one operator has exclusive access to develop 4G services while attempting to run an auction to the others for the bandwidth to compete, though the 1800MHz band is used by other countries for 4G support.

It's worth bearing in mind that 4G isn't actually available yet through any network and EE's coverage will be limited to major cities in the first instance. It is interesting to note that the Orange/T-mobile UK version of the iPhone5 will be offered with LTE (4G) support on 3 bands: 850MHz, 1800MHz and 2100MHz which will ultimately limit access to 4G services on the 800MHz & 2600MHz bands.

Of course, 4G isn't the only reason to buy the new iPhone5 and it will be available from the other networks, Vodafone & O2 both allowing registration of interest on their websites already. With the "pay as you go” list price for the iPhone5 starting from £529, insurance for your iPhone could be a wise move.