Super-fast mobile broadband access which is quicker than the average home connection could be available in the UK later this year, if a phone network gets its way.
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Everything Everywhere, the company which owns Orange and T Mobile - and also supplies access to Three and Virgin Media - is pushing the communications watchdog Ofcom to grant permission to use the new protocol.
Current 3G mobile broadband has an average download speed of around 1.4 megabits per second, while 4G runs between 7 and 20Mbps. The average home broadband speed is 7.5Mbps.
Everything Everywhere chief executive Olaf Swantee said: "The UK has been ahead in this industry for many years and we need to get that back. As we are the largest in this market we believe it is our duty to lay the groundwork for a future digital Britain."
Legal squabbles between the networks have pushed the auctions for the full national rollout of 4G back to 2013, but EE wants to convert some of its existing network with extra capacity to carry 4G signals now.
There are currently very few 4G-enabled phones, so the service would be restricted to dongle users initially.
Ofcom issued a statement which read: "Ofcom has received an application from EE to vary its licence for 4G use. Ofcom is considering that application and once it arrives at a view it will consult with stakeholders."
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