A legal row over the next generation of mobile phone networking, known as '4G' or 'Fourth Generation' is threatening to leave the UK far behind the rest of the world according to experts, says The Daily Telegraph.
The 4G network offers users super-fast mobile broadband, allowing them access to content at speeds up to three times faster than the existing 3G network.
After the Government approved it to operate the UK's first 4G network, Everything Everywhere, a new entity formed from a merger between Orange and T-Mobile, will launch in the UK at the end of this year.
The Government decision to allow just one operator the rights to open their network early has incensed their rivals O2, Vodafone and 3, who immediately announced a plan to challenge the Government's decision, with legal action if necessary.
Everything Everywhere was able to apply to the industry regulator Ofcom early to reuse surplus 2G network in order to roll out 4G services early.
EE's rivals have been told that they must wait until the official government auction of 4G licences before rolling out their offerings, effectively handing EE a monopoly on the use of 4G until that time.
EE's advantage has been compounded after the recent announcement of new 4G handsets by a number of manufacturers including Apple, who unveiled their iPhone 5 earlier this month.
"It's fair to say that we're in discussions with the wider industry over 4G spectrum, but this is in an attempt to bring 4G to all UK customers, not to delay the launch of 4G," said a spokesman for O2.
"As a result, we're talking as a group about the possibility of bringing the auction forward," they added.
The row is heightened by the fact that iPhone 5 will only run at true 4G '100 megabit' speeds on the EE network. Rivals including Vodafone and O2 lack the appropriate bandwidth supported by iPhone 5, and so their customers will only enjoy enhanced 42 megabit speeds on that handset.
However, O2 and others are keen to point out that true 4G speeds will be available on other handsets from the likes of Samsung and Nokia.
Fears over 4G delays with legal talks 'in the balance' (The Telegraph)
4G talks ongoing to speed up auction process (BBC News)