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The thorough approach taking by Ofcom ahead of the 4G spectrum auction has reduced the likelihood of a lengthy court battle, it has been claimed.

Writing for the Telegraph, Matt Warman suggested that a number of mobile broadband providers were lining up legal challenges as the regulator planned to sell off spectrum in the 800MHz and 2.6GHz frequency bands.

This persuaded Ofcom to run two consultations on how to run the auction - a move which has seen the launch date for 4G pushed back to 2013 or 2014, he said.

But Mr Warman claimed that without this action, it could take even longer to introduce next-generation mobile services in the UK.

"While it’s unfashionable to support the regulator, it seems likely that any other outcome would have ended up with the operators in court anyway," he noted.

"That outcome is still not impossible, it is now less likely."

Ofcom plans to sell 4G spectrum to four mobile network providers, with one of the firms required to guarantee 98 per cent coverage.

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