The UK mobile market is set for a boost after Phones 4U announced it is to launch its own network in March, with 4G services available before the year's end.
The mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) venture is called Life Mobile and will run, like Virgin Media's offering, on the existing EE network.
Phones 4U said that Life Mobile will start offering 3G services from March and plans to roll out 4G services later this year.
The move is welcome news for the UK market ahead of the 4G auctions. It could spur price competition between operators for the superfast services when they are more widely available later this year.
"Based on the tactics of similar MVNOs like Talkmobile from Carphone Warehouse, you can bet their pricing will be ultra-competitive - great news for mobile customers who will benefit from increased competition in the industry," commented Ernst Doku from price comparison site uSwitch.com.
Tim Whiting, group chief executive at Phones 4U said the move was a "significant step" for the business.
"We will sell both 3G, and later in 2013, 4G Life Mobile tariffs alongside our existing network propositions and are confident the new network will play a key role in driving further growth for our business," he said.
The network will be on offer through Phones 4U stores, as well as at Phones 4U kiosks in Dixons, Currys and PC World outlets.
The 4G auctions are set to take begin in January, and will include the likes of BT - another new mobile player - and could raise around £3.5bn for the UK government.
Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal.