Ofcom has given Orange and T-Mobile owner Everything Everywhere the green light to start doling out 4G services in the UK earlier than expected, the regulator announced in a statement.
Other networks will need to wait until early next year, when fresh bits of spectrum will be auctioned off to the likes of O2, Three and Vodafone. Everything Everywhere has a head-start however, as Ofcom has said it can use existing chunks of its own spectrum to launch speedier services.
Everything Everywhere is allowed to pump LTE goodness over its 1,800MHz spectrum, and will be allowed to start funnelling faster data from 11 September.
Sadly that doesn't mean your Orange or T-Mobile phone will be getting a speed boost next month -- the new-to-the-UK network tech will only work with 4G-enabled mobiles, which aren't widely available here. Everything Everywhere has apparently been working on upgrading its infrastructure, so here's hoping we see faster mobile Internet arriving before Christmas.
As you'd expect, rival networks were none too chuffed when Everything Everywhere asked Ofcom if it could jump the gun on next year's auction. Complaints from other operators delayed proceedings, but now Ofcom has stated that the move would deliver "significant benefits" to shoppers that outweigh any competition concerns.
"We are frankly shocked that Ofcom has reached this decision," Vodafone says, "the regulator has shown a careless disregard for the best interests of consumers, businesses and the wider economy."
Shocked, I say! Fingers crossed Everything Everywhere uses the extra time to get speedier data into the hands of shoppers. The UK lags behind other nations in terms of network speeds, so I'd like to see operators moving with a little more haste.
Are you excited about 4G tech? What do you think of Vodafone's reaction? Let me know in the comments or on our Facebook wall.