Ofcom's ruling a 'significant step' towards 4G in UK

But when will consumers finally get it?

Ofcom s ruling a  significant step  towards 4G in UK

Will the 4G auction announcement raise the ire of the UK's mobile networks? TechRadar has been in contact to find out.

We've had a word with all the networks who will be affected by the Ofcom ruling today (that's O2, Vodafone, Three, Orange and T-Mobile, with the last two represented under the Everything Everywhere umbrella).

The unofficial word from most sources is that the documents published are so long and in-depth that it's going to take a while before any stance is set by the operators, but we've collected a few statements that show Ofcom's announcement is at least cause for quiet optimism the UK will finally see 4G networks in 2013:

"Ofcom's detailed rules for the auction represent a significant step towards 4G launch in the UK. Whilst Ofcom has taken a number of our suggestions on board, they are combined with other changes to the previous proposals," said an O2 spokesperson.

"We will need to study the package in detail before responding to the Notice on the Regulations, which puts the rules into law."

Three and Vodafone

"Ofcom's decision on the structure of the spectrum auction will have a lasting effect on the choice of services and value available to mobile consumers," added a spokesperson from Three, rather numerically.

"We are working through the detail of this very substantial document to evaluate what it means for both consumers and competition in the UK mobile market."

"A competitive market for the next generation of mobile internet services will bring substantial benefits to British consumers, businesses and the wider economy," parped Vodafone, perhaps twiddling a cigar or pipe.

"Ofcom appears to have created a mechanism to deliver the spectrum needed to run competitive 4G services and we welcome the work it has done.

"We also support the regulator's desire to see 4G services delivered to as many people as possible. However, we will obviously need to study today's lengthy documents to make sure they deliver the fair and open auction that this country needs."

So the upshot is: there's loads to read, we're going to read it, check back to hear more in the next few hours.