Will Relish 4G Replace Landline Broadband?

New wireless broadband provider Relish is urging Londoners to swap their landline for home or business broadband that makes use of wireless 4G technology. Launched at the Tate Modern on Wednesday, Relish provides a low cost, low hassle alternative to fixed line broadband.

Relish 4G

One of the main attractions of Relish for London businesses and families is likely to be the lack of landline rental. It is estimated that almost £200 million is spent each year in the capital on phone lines that aren’t actually needed, aside for broadband use. Instead of using a fixed landline, users of Relish 4G will use a Huawei 4G router that will pick up the 4G signal. Up to ten devices will be able to connect to the router wirelessly or via a cable.

The service is expected to appeal to professionals in London who may be house sharing but don’t want to share their broadband connection. The router is delivered the day after it is ordered, and the plug and play installation makes a connection almost instant. Users can take the router with them when they move house without any hassle.

Relish is owned by UK Broadband, a company that has owned radio spectrum licenses for some time but has been unable to make effective use of them. The company’s first foray into 4G was using the technology WiMAX, but the new Relish network will make use of the more successful LTE 4G technology.

Cost of Relish 4G

Relish is expected to be a fairly low cost alternative to fixed line broadband. For home users the cost will be £20 per month on a 30 day or 12 month contract with unlimited data. There will be an initial cost of £50 for the 4G router for those on a 30 day contract, whereas those on a 12 month contract will get the router for free. For an additional £10 per month customers can make use of a portable 4G router or ‘Pocket Hub’ which allows users to take the 4G connection with them. This includes 1GB data.

Speed of Relish 4G

Home users are guaranteed average speeds of 30Mbits/sec or above, but Relish are expecting actual speeds to be much faster. Small businesses will be offered a similar service to home users, while larger businesses will be able to make use of a more robust 1Gbit/sec version on a slightly different technology, which will involve having a dedicated wireless antenna installed.

Availability of Relish 4G

At the moment Relish is only available in Central London, from Kensington to Canary Wharf and Shoreditch to Southwark. Users that roam outside of the Relish area with a Pocket Hub will be able to make use of 3G from Three.

Although there are plans to extend Relish coverage, it is only likely to be available in highly populated areas. This is because the frequency of the radio spectrum used by Relish, which is 3.6GHz, does not travel far, so covering large areas is only economically feasible in densely populated areas such as London. The frequency is not compatible with 4G phones, which use a lower frequency that can travel further.

Nicholas James, CEO of UK Broadband, said: “London is home to some of the world’s most talented and busy people, who have to suffer delays in getting their broadband service set up and pay a ‘landline tax’ for a service they often don’t need. Relish wants to give Londoners the broadband they deserve – and will shake up the market with a fair and transparent service that meets the digital demands of modern Londoners.”

It remains to be seen whether Relish 4G really can replace fixed line broadband in the capital, saving Londoners millions on unused phone lines and providing a low cost, hassle free alternative.