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Telecoms giant Everything Everywhere has been granted permission to use its existing bandwidth to launch fourth-generation mobile services.

The firm - the parent UK company of mobile broadband providers Orange and T-Mobile - will now be able to steal a march on its rival network operators.

Media regulator Ofcom is set to auction off spectrum in the 800MHz and 2.6GHz frequency bands later this year, giving mobile broadband providers the chance to launch super-fast dongle services.

However, they will be unable to launch 4G services until 2013 at the earliest.

But with Ofcom approving Everything Everywhere's application to utilise its 1,800MHz spectrum, UK consumers will now gain access to super-fast mobile broadband earlier than expected.

The firm will be allowed to offer fourth-generation services from September 11th 2012.

Ofcom said the early launch of 4G mobile broadband will deliver "significant benefits" to consumers - and these outweigh concerns over competition.

After consulting on the issue, the regulator said preventing Everything Everywhere from launching 4G would be "to the detriment of consumers".

“Ofcom’s decision to make 4G available this year is great news for the UK," the firm said.

"Consumers will soon be able to benefit from the much greater mobile speeds that 4G will deliver."

Everything Everywhere said 4G will drive investment, employment and innovation in the UK.

"We look forward to making it available later this year, delivering super-fast mobile broadband to the UK," he stated.

However, rival broadband providers O2 and Vodafone have expressed disappointment at the decision.

A spokesperson for Vodafone said Ofcom had "shown a careless disregard for the best interests of consumers, businesses and the wider economy" by approving the plan.

They accused the regulator of "failing to properly regard the competitive distortion created by allowing one operator to run services before the ground has been laid for a fully competitive 4G market".

This view was echoed by O2, whose spokesperson claimed "the majority of customers will be excluded from the first wave of digital services".

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