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Orange, T-mobile going 4G in UK

2012-08-21 20:26

London - Britain will have access to superfast 4G mobile internet services by the end of the year, communications watchdog Ofcom said on Tuesday after approving its launch by telecoms providers Orange and T-Mobile.

Regulator Ofcom said Everything Everywhere - formed by the merger of the Orange and T-Mobile brands in Britain - has controversially been given a six-months headstart over rivals, triggering a hostile reaction from Vodafone.

"Ofcom has today approved an application by the mobile phone operator Everything Everywhere (EE) to use its existing 1800 MHz spectrum to deliver 4G services," the regulator said in a statement.

"Following a consultation, Ofcom has concluded that varying EE's 1800 MHz licences now will deliver significant benefits to consumers, and that there is no material risk that those benefits will be outweighed by a distortion of competition.

"Delaying doing so would therefore be to the detriment of consumers," Ofcom added.

But Vodafone hit back, saying in a statement: "We are frankly shocked that Ofcom has reached this decision.

"The regulator has shown a careless disregard for the best interests of consumers, businesses and the wider economy through its refusal to properly regard the competitive distortion created by allowing one operator to run services before the ground has been laid for a fully competitive 4G market."