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The final stage of the switchover from analogue to digital was completed last night, paving the way for next-generation super-fast 4G mobile broadband services.

The analogue TV signal was switched off in Northern Ireland at 23:30 – the last part of the UK to switch off the signal, which has been in use for more than 70 years.

Following the completion of the switchover, the now-vacant 800MHz band will be auctioned for 4G high-speed mobile broadband. UK households also now have access to a wide range of digital television channels.

4G should deliver speeds up to five times as fast as 3G, with users downloading and streaming music and videos with ease.

Ofcom welcomed the successful completion of the UK's switchover from analogue to digital.

Its chief executive, Ed Richards, said: "The UK's switchover to digital has been a huge success. Not only has it created more TV choice for consumers, it has also freed up vital capacity that will be used to deliver mobile broadband services to 98 per cent of cities, towns and villages across the UK.

"Now that switchover is complete, Ofcom is looking forward to delivering the 4G auction as the next step in delivering new higher speed mobile broadband services."

The UK communications regulator said it will start auctioning off the 800MHz spectrum towards the end of this year, which means that mobile networks could launch 4G services at some point in 2013.

Earlier this week, Everything Everywhere announced its 4G price plans, which start at £36 for 500Mb of data, climbing to £56 for 8GB.

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