The faster bandwidth will allow smoother and quicker use of mobiles for so-called data functions such as email, video streaming and social networking.
The mobile operator, which is a joint venture between France Telecom and Deutsch Telekom. says it will now work to make 4G available on its Orange and T-Mobile networks “later in the year”, adding the development will “drive investment, innovation and jobs.”
However, rival operators including O2 and Vodafone, which opposed EE’s application on anti-competitive grounds, say the move will spell the opposite. A spokesperson for Vodafone says its executives are “frankly shocked” by the regulator’s decision.
He added the regulator has “shown a careless disregard for the best interests of consumers, businesses and the wider economy.”
Ofcom says its decision to effectively give the UK’s largest mobile operator a head-start with offering 4G was based on the conviction the move would offer “significant benefit to consumers” that outweighed “distortion of competition.”
The fact that other operators will be able to provide super-fast mobile internet from early 2013 following a release of additional bandwidth later this year helped sway the regulator’s decision, it said in a statement.
It was being reported this morning that EE now plans to drop the Orange and T-Mobile brands in favour of ‘Everything Everywhere 4G’ from March next year.