Orange, T-Mobile, Virgin and Three could launch 4G mobile services by the end of the year if Orange and T-Mobile owner Everything Everywhere is granted regulatory approval to launch a next-generation mobile network.
Everything Everywhere has requested approval to use some of the firm's 1800MHz radio spectrum for 4G services and if granted this will allow the firm's own brands as well as other networks that use the Everything Everywhere network to finally offer 4G in the UK.
The company has a transitional plan to rapidly roll out fancier versions of 3G in the form of HSPA+ 21 and HSPA+ 42, boosting download speeds on the existing network. Meanwhile a further trials in almost-4G LTE, will kick off in April on the 1800MHz band.
Everything Everywhere is to spend £1.5 billion on the LTE upgrade. "I am also very proud to announce that, subject to regulatory approval by the spring, Everything Everywhere will be in a position to begin the roll out of 4G before the end of the year," said Everything Everywhere boss Olaf Swantee.
"There is a great opportunity for the UK to have the 21st Century network that it so deserves, putting the nation on a level playing field with other parts of Europe, the USA and Asia," he added.