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The Culture Secretary has called on the UK mobile broadband industry to avoid taking legal action over the upcoming 4G radio spectrum auction.

Speaking at the Royal Television Society's Cambridge Convention, Jeremy Hunt said it is in the national interest to distribute additional spectrum as soon as possible, reports the Telegraph.

However, a number of broadband providers - including Vodafone, Orange and T-Mobile – have suggested they may seek to challenge the terms of the spectrum auction through the courts.

Fellow broadband provider Three warned last week that some of its rivals may seek to delay the 4G spectrum auction through litigation.

The firm noted that some mobile broadband providers have spare 3G capacity still to use, meaning it is not in their immediate interest for 4G spectrum to become available.

But Mr Hunt said the industry needs to "press on as quickly as possible" with the 4G auction.

"Sweden completed their auction in 2009, Germany last year, Italy is doing theirs this week and France will finish theirs this year. Mobile phone operators must put aside competitive differences and work together in their common – and our national - interest to make this happen," he explained.

"We need to recognise that the future is not simply about super-fast broadband – it will be about super-fast mobile broadband."

Mr Hunt said consumers are now using mobile devices to access the internet both at home and on the move, and this is increasing demand for data services.

Last week, David Dyson, Chief Executive Officer at Three, told the Financial Times: "It is up to Ofcom and the government to take a strong lead to make sure that any potential disruption to the 4G auction is dealt with effectively.

"O2, Vodafone and Everything Everywhere are all incentivised differently to defer that auction for as long as possible."

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