Hong Kong-based telecoms firm PCCW is set to launch an audacious bid to build a 4G mobile broadband network in the UK, with services potentially available from as early as next year.
A Financial Times report said that PCCW's UK subsidiary UK Broadband is looking to roll out a wholesale service based on the "large amount of spectrum" it owns at the 3.5 GHz and 3.6 GHz bandwidths.
This would mean it is able to push ahead with its plans without having to wait for the 4G auctions for the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bandwidths which are not set to take place yet until the end of 2012.
Even this date remains in doubt as mobile operators jostle for position in what is likely to be a fiercely contested auction process.
O2 last week even claimed that Ofcom's proposals for the auction are illegal under EU law as they could distort the bidding process in favour of other operators.
The Financial Times report claims UK Broadband is already sounding out companies such as Virgin Media about whether they would be prepared to supply mobile services on the network.
"It is the company's intention to launch a 4G service," the firm's chief executive, Nicholas James, told the FT.
"We are currently working with our vendors to finalise the equipment offering on our spectrum. And we are finalising our network planning and our business plan."
James Walsh, senior associate at international law firm Eversheds, argued that PCCW's ambitious plans could "fundamentally change competition in the UK mobile market".
"By getting a significant lead on all of the other major network operators for the launch of 4G networks - without having to wait for the auction of new spectrum that Ofcom has intended for use with 4G technology - PCCW will be able to offer much higher data speeds than can currently be achieved with 3G technology sooner than other network operators," he added.
"All eyes will be on Ofcom to see how the regulator goes about managing the spectrum in the coming years as competition heats up to offer super fast mobile data speeds to consumers."
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