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Big Four mobile groups join forces to launch 4G

Pulling together for the launch of the UK's first 4G services

The Big Four companies have formed a joint venture, MitCo, to ensure there are no more hold-ups as they roll out the superfast services, which will allow people to download information over their mobiles up to 10 times faster than they can at the moment.

The initiative came as the four operators – Vodafone, O2, EE and Three – formally pledged not to take legal action over the auction of the airwaves on which the 4G services will run.

They have also agreed not to sue over a rule change by telecoms regulator Ofcom, which effectively gives EE, Britain's biggest mobile operator which runs Orange and T-Mobile, a six-month head start on rolling out 4G.

It marks a dramatic shift in behaviour for the telecoms industry, whose major players have spent the past two years threatening legal action over the 4G auction if it didn’t appear to be going their way.

In that time, the UK has gone from being one of the most advanced mobile markets in the world, to a laggard whose mobile services pale in comparison to those in most of the rest of Europe.

Sources close to the process have characterised the mobile operators as badly behaved children who needed their heads banging together.

However, Ofcom and Culture Secretary Maria Miller appear to have done just that. The threat that EE will be able to get a head start on launching 4G services has frightened the rest of the operators into action.

Earlier this month, they agreed to set aside their differences if the Government agreed to speed up the auction of its airwaves and ensure they were cleared sooner than expected.

EE will begin rolling out the 4G services in 16 UK cities on October 30, under a new, eponymous brand that will sit alongside Orange and T-Mobile.

The prices for the new service will be announced next Tuesday and will have a major bearing on how many new customers they can win from rivals during its six-month head start.

Separately, both EE and all the mobile operators could be forced to stop imposing price rises on their customers mid-way through contracts.

Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile and Three have all raised their prices in the past year, even for contracts that are supposedly fixed at the outset.

And do not forget that you can KEEP your existing mobile phone number if you decide to switch mobile phone operators. All you need is your PAC code. Use our handy tool on to obtain your PAC code.



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What is a PAC code?

A porting authorisation code, or PAC code, allows you to transfer your existing mobile phone number from to another mobile phone provider so that if you change mobile phone networks you do not have to give everyone a new number... You can keep your existing mobile phone number. The process is termed mobile number portability, or number porting. It's quick, FREE and very easy to do - follow the instructions here for full details on how to port your mobile phone number to a new network provider.

NOTE: You can purchase your new phone contract and then obtain your PAC code. It is not essential to have your PAC code prior to purchasing your new phone. However, you will need your PAC code if you want to keep your existing phone number (i.e. transfer your current number to your new provider). Use our handy tool above to obtain your PAC code.

PAC codes are FREE.

To keep your mobile phone number when switching to another mobile phone network, use our handy tool to obtain your PAC code. Just select your current and new phone provider click OK and you'll receive full instructions for obtaining your PAC code.