Spanish telecoms operator Telefonica announced plans on Thursday to roll out superfast mobile internet in three British cities this month and a deal with TeliaSonera's Yoigo allowing it access to 4G frequencies in Spain.
Telefonica's British brand O2 plans to launch its superfast mobile network in London and two other cities before extending it elsewhere around the country later this year in an effort to catch up with the market leader, merged Orange and Deutsche Telekom operator EE.
In Spain, Telefonica has lagged competitors, with all other mobile operators already offering 4G (fourth generation) services, which speed up browsing and improve video quality on phones.
The tie-up with Yoigo will allow Spain's largest mobile provider access to superfast frequencies it does not have now in exchange for granting the smaller player access to its broadband assets.
The deal is expected to go through in the fourth quarter of the year and will help Yoigo compete in the attractive market of bundled mobile and fixed line services where it only offered mobile before.
O2, which was overtaken as the number one mobile operator in Britain when Orange and Deutsche Telekom merged their assets to form EE, said its 4G service would start in London, Leeds and Bradford on Aug. 29.
Another 10 cities will be connected by the end of the year.
EE launched Britain's first 4G services last October, after the regulator allowed it to re-use its existing airwaves, giving it an advantage over competitors in providing a service that allows consumers to watch video on the go and download content at much faster speeds.
Take-up of its superfast services, which are priced 10 to 20 percent more than the equivalent 3G tariffs, reached 687,000 in July, and it is targeting 1 million customers by the end of the year.
Telefonica has already rolled out superfast mobile internet services in Germany and other countries including Brazil.
Vodafone, the third biggest operator in Britain, has said it will roll out a 4G offering later this summer.