Ofcom, the telecommunications regulator, has announced the five winning bidders of its 4G mobile auction, allowing firms to progress with the roll out of quicker mobile broadband services.
Small businesses are among those set to benefit remarkably over the next few months and years as they gain access to superfast mobile internet speeds, delivering greater flexibility for those working on the move.
It is also set to revolutionise broadband services in rural areas, allowing start-ups and other firms to base themselves in locations that would previously have had poor internet signal.
Everything Everywhere, Niche Spectrum Ventures, Telefonica UK and Vodafone all won spectrum in the auction that can now be used to distribute 4G services after spectrum was freed up by the switching off of analogue terrestrial television services.
And Ofcom believes that the introduction of new services will lead to further business investment, lower prices and greater innovation in the coming years.
Ed Richards, chief executive of the regulator, said that the completion of the auction is a "positive outcome for competition in the UK".
"We are confident that the UK will be among the most competitive markets in the world for 4G services," he noted. "4G coverage will extend far beyond that of existing 3G services, covering 98 per cent of the UK population indoors - and even more when outdoors - which is good news for parts of the country currently underserved by mobile broadband.
"We also want consumers to be well informed about 4G, so we will be conducting research at the end of this year to show who is deploying services, in which areas and at what speeds. This will help consumers and businesses to choose their most suitable provider."
All services are expected to be launched within the next six months, while research measuring 4G speeds will be undertaken towards the end of the year.
In the meantime, small businesses could research into how they could deploy quicker internet speeds and fully utilise it to expand operations.
Posted by Thomas Fletcher