Mobile workers have been given a boost with the news that 4G services will launch earlier than expected in the UK.
While many countries around the world are already benefitting from fourth-generation mobile broadband, UK consumers and professionals remain reliant upon 3G connectivity.
Ofcom is working towards auctioning off spectrum in the 800MHz and 2.6GHz frequency bands this autumn, but mobile network operators will not be able to offer super-fast broadband until 2013 at the earliest.
As such, smartphone, tablet and dongle users are missing out on the best broadband speeds and also coverage in some areas – particularly in more rural locations.
However, Ofcom has now given Everything Everywhere – the UK parent company of T-Mobile and Orange – permission to use some of its existing spectrum to launch 4G services.
Earlier this year, the company approached the media regulator with a view to utilising its existing 1,800MHz spectrum for next-generation mobile broadband.
Rival firms, worried about Everything Everywhere stealing a march in this potentially lucrative industry, opposed the plans, leading Ofcom to run two consultations.
But having gathered evidence from across the industry, and weighed up the potential benefits of an earlier 4G launch against competition concerns, Ofcom has given the green light.
As such, Orange and T-Mobile will be able to offer 4G super-fast mobile broadband from September 11th 2012.
Professional people accessing 4G services should be able to work more effectively on their mobile devices, which could help boost productivity rates and support UK growth.
Workers in some areas of the UK may be able to utilise mobile broadband for the first time, allowing them to continue working away from the office, such as during train or bus journeys into work or from hotel rooms.