Ofcom has cleared the way for telecoms giant Everything Everywhere to launch 4G mobile broadband services in the UK.
The firm - the UK parent company of broadband providers T-Mobile and Orange - is seeking to launch next-generation services over its existing 1800MHz radio spectrum.
Earlier this year, Everything Everywhere applied to Ofcom to change the use of this spectrum in order to offer long-term evolution (LTE) or WiMAX broadband services.
And in a statement on the proposed licence variation, the media regulator has given provisional permission for the firm to launch 4G broadband.
"We have considered whether there is a risk of distortion to competition arising from authorising Everything Everywhere's 1800MHz licences for LTE and WiMAX technologies," Ofcom stated.
"Our view is that there is no material risk of a distortion of competition if [it] is permitted now to use the 1800MHz band to deploy LTE and/or WiMAX technologies."
As such, the regulator has proposed to vary Everything Everywhere's licences "as soon as practicable", subject to consultation.
Other mobile broadband providers are also hoping to launch 4G services in the UK at the earliest possible opportunity - in a bid to boost their customer appeal.
However, they may have to wait until the much-delayed 4G radio spectrum auction, which Ofcom is set to stage in the second half of 2012.
The regulator is freeing up spectrum in the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands for 4G mobile broadband, as part of plans to extend network coverage to 98 per cent of the UK.
Ed Richards, Ofcom's Chief Executive, has described the sale as "the most significant spectrum release in the UK for many years".