OFCOM gave the go-ahead for mobile broadband operators to use part of the 2G network for 3G services today.
The communications regulator said the move would help to increase mobile broadband speeds and improve coverage in more rural areas.
At the moment the 2G spectrum is just used for carrying voice and text messages.
It's predicted that the upgrade will result in an almost instant improvement for mobile broadband users, particularly those currently lacking signal inside or in a rural broadband area.
"This spectrum could in future be used to meet the growing demand from smartphone devices and the like for 3G services," Ofcom said.
Ofcom finally increased the spectrum available after European legislation made it mandatory but they've only made this formal announcement after consulting with the Government over how this will affect competition in the sector.
Vodafone and 02 will now be able to convert their chunks of the 900MHz spectrum.
The lower (900MHz) frequency allows signal to travel further so it's more valuable than the 1800MHz spectrum used by T-Mobile and Orange.
That made the regulator concerned that Vodafone and O2 would have a competitive advantage but the merger of Orange and T-mobile into Everything Everywhere, which included a network-sharing agreement with Three, encouraged them to go ahead.
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