UK's first 4G network could launch this year

But not in time for iPad 3 launch.

Super-fast 4G mobile broadband may be up and running in the UK later this year, according to service regulator Ofcom.

As reported by the BBC, it has received an application from Everything Everywhere - the owner of the Orange and T-Mobile networks - to use its existing spectrum to offer customers a high-speed 4G service.

"Other parties" have four weeks to offer their views on the move before it gets the go-ahead.

It had previously been thought that 4G wouldn't arrive in the UK until 2013/2014 due to a planned auction of 800MHz and 2.6GHz frequencies. However, Everything Everywhere plans to sidestep the issue by varying its 1800MHz spectrum licenses to accommodate LTE (long term evolution) and Wimax technologies.

UK Broadband has also announced plans to offer 4G in some parts of South London from May this year, while O2 has been carrying out a limited trial in the UK capital.

The new iPad, due out on 16th March, is among the first wave of devices to offer a 4G option.

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