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Vodafone's reported interest in T-Mobile UK should not be justified by fears over who will fund fourth-generation (4G) mobile broadband.

That is according to industry commentator Nils Pratley, who explained that one of the biggest arguments for a potential merger between the rival internet service providers is that it would encourage them to invest more in 4G broadband infrastructure.

Writing in the Guardian, he suggested that mobile broadband competition is currently working for consumers, who have seen prices steadily drop.

And while consolidation among the largest mobile operators might be in their own commercial interests, Mr Pratley pointed to the fact that it could hurt consumers.

"The cost of building's tomorrow's infrastructure shouldn't dictate today's competition policy," he elaborated.

"Yes, there is a serious debate to be aired about how Europe will pay for fourth-generation mobile networks, but it's not sensible to mix it up with domestic competition matters. They are separate issues."

On the other hand, the Times has reported that many industry analysts will feel having four major players in the mobile broadband industry instead of five should not hinder competition.

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