Network operator Everything Everywhere plans to conduct a 4G trial in Bristol from April to assess how the technology fairs in urban areas.
The trial is still subject to regulatory approval from Ofcom but if given the go-ahead will operate in the 1800MHz spectrum band and follows on from trials the firm carried out in Cornwall in 2011, in conjunction with BT.
The firm also announced it will increase its current HSPA+ network to what it dubs "3.5G" speeds of 21Mbit/s, offering Orange and T-Mobile customers 50 per cent faster network speeds and twice as fast download speeds.
The firm said this work, and other network improvements and enhancements, would see it spend £1.5bn over the next three years to ensure it can meet the ever-growing demand for high-quality mobile access.
Chief executive Olaf Swantee said the trial and the network upgrades would help the firm place itself in a prime position to deliver 4G networks, helping the UK to catch-up in this market.
"Everything Everywhere's vision is to launch 4G for Britain as soon as possible, and the roll out of 3.5G HSPA+ and our 4G trials across Britain are major steps towards delivering on that promise," he said.
"Subject to regulatory approval, [we] will be in a position to begin the roll out of 4G before the end of the year. There is a great opportunity for the UK to have the network it deserves, putting the nation on a level playing field with other parts of Europe, the USA and Asia."
Daniel Gleeson, an analyst with IHS Screen Digest, told V3 using 1800MHz spectrum for the 4G trial would help Everything Everywhere increase the potential sale value of the spectrum it is being forced to divest as part of the merger agreement.
"If the firm can prove 1800MHz is a viable spectrum for delivering 4G services it should help increase its value as at present most operators are probably not looking to use this band," he explained.
Gleeson also said that by increasing the speed of the HSPA network customers on both networks would see immediate benefits, with several high-end phones, including the iPhone 4S, able to access HSPA+ services.
"With full 4G networks not likely for a while yet, this will help the firm offer better speeds to customers on most high-end devices and bring more immediate benefits to end users," he added.
The rollout of 4G networks is expected to take place during 2014, with the auctions for the spectrum delayed until the end of 2012, after Ofcom was forced to reconsult on its plans after operators raised numerous issues with its first proposals.
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