4G service to speed up British mobile internet by 16 times


London : Mobile phone networks in Britain will be able to provide internet speeds up to 16 times faster than current technologies after Ofcom unveiled plans for 4G coverage.

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Ofcam, the independent telecom regulator in Britain, has announced an auction for the right to provide high-speed services to consumers and businesses in a sale that could raise more than 10 billion pounds for the treasury.

It is envisaged that four companies would buy the right to offer 4G services — already available in the US — from 2013.

Typically, they should offer speeds of 4 to 8 megabits per second (Mbps), compared with the 0.5 to 2 Mbps of most existing 3G services which currently connect high-tech handsets such as the iPhone to mobile masts and the web.

The speedier system will allow people to smoothly stream high-definition TV and films on their smartphones, laptops and tablets on the go, the Daily Mail reports.

However, rural areas may face a long wait for the mobile revolution, as successful bidders will have until 2017 to achieve coverage for 95 percent of the country.

The auction will cover two significant spectrum bands within the so-called ‘sweet spot’ which is most suitable for mobile communications – 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz – made available as a result of the government’s decision to end analogue TV broadcasts in a switch to digital transmissions.

Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said 4G offers “much better data services and therefore all the kind of things you can get on your broadband at home or in your office and that you aspire to do through your smartphone or tablet computer and so forth, that is exactly what 4G services will enable.”