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4G in Britain this year gets thumbs-up from Ofcom

Ofcom has given the thumbs-up to Orange and T-Mobile plans for 4G in Britain by the end of the year.

Ofcom has given the thumbs-up to 4G in Britain by the end of the year. The telecoms regulator says it's leaning towards greenlighting the next generation of mobile Internet from Orange and T-Mobile.

The two networks, collectively known as Everything Everywhere, have submitted an application to Ofcom to use a chunk of their existing airwaves for 4G, which lets you connect to the Internet much faster on your phone or tablet when you're out and about.

"Allowing Everything Everywhere to reuse its spectrum in this way is likely to bring material benefits to consumers," Ofcom reckons, "including faster mobile broadband speeds and -- depending on how Everything Everywhere uses the spectrum -- potentially wider mobile broadband coverage in rural areas."

Ofcom has considered whether giving Everything Everywhere the go-ahead would distort competition, and provisionally concluded that it would be okay: "Given the benefits this would bring to consumers, Ofcom is minded to allow this change of use."

That means you'd get dizzying speeds on your phone or tablet -- and wider coverage, even in neglected areas that don't currently have so much as a decent fixed-line broadband connection.

Phones and tablets that could take advantage of the higher speeds include the Nokia Lumia 900 or Apple's new iPad.

All involved have a month to chip in with their two penn'orth, giving rival networks a chance to complain. 4G has so far been delayed by legal squabbles over spectrum allocation, but recent alterations to the proposals by Ofcom have shaken things up and paved the way for some new ideas.

4G trials are taking place around the country by several networks, including the trial by Everything Everywhere and BT in Cornwall.

Would you be tempted to switch to T-Mobile or Orange by 4G? Is it a brave new world of high speeds and wider access? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.