4G finally arrives in the UK

Brits will join many of their European counterparts in enjoying much faster mobile internet speeds later this year, after 4G was given the go-ahead to roll out across the UK.

Everything Everywhere, the company which owns Orange and T-Mobile, has been allowed to launch the next generation mobile network anytime after September this year, but the move still comes after other countries in Europe or across the Atlantic.

"It is fantastic news that after over two years of unnecessary delays caused by the Conservative-led government 4G is finally on its way to the UK," said Helen Goodman, shadow media minister.

"I am sure Ofcom's decision will be warmly welcomed by consumers and also businesses, who know the potential economic benefits 4G will bring in these tough economic times."

Dan Wagner, chief executive of mPowa, which relies on mobile broadband, said: "The introduction of 4G in the UK is long overdue because for far too long, the internet speeds we had – both on mobile and to fixed locations – were inferior to other parts of Europe and further afield."

According to industry body GSMA, 30 countries already have operational 4G networks, including Estonia, Angola and Kyrgyzstan.

It is far from clear whether the coalition is responsible for delays to the introduction of the service, although Ofcom has come under attack for its delay to the consultation on how to roll out the new technology.

Some are concerned Everything Everywhere is being handed a major boost when it is already the country's biggest operator.

Vodaphone and 02 will have to wait until the upcoming 4G spectrum auction next year to launch their own services. That process is expected to see £4.5 billion contributed to the public purse.