According to reports from BBC News, UK residents may soon be able to enjoy 4G speeds from a number of service providers, including O2 and Vodafone, by spring 2013 (six months earlier than planned). This news follows Everything Everywhere’s EE’s head start for providing 4G services in the UK, as the company is already offerings 4G speeds in four cities across Britain.

Of course, competing companies were furious when they heard that EE was granted early permission to add 4G to its existing network this year, but now it appears that threats of legal action have been dropped in favor of speeding up the planned multi-carrier rollout in 2013. As the BBC reports, the necessary airwaves will be auctioned this January to carriers, but they will apparently be cleared for 4G use “far more quickly than originally envisaged.”

According to a spokesman for the mobile operator Three:

We see this as positive step for UK consumers by removing the monopoly on LTE that would have benefitted just one operator.

In the short tem, EE definitely has the advantage, as it is already hoping to support 70% of the UK by the end of the year and 98% by 2014. Over the next year, however, it looks like the UK as a whole will advance quite quickly in this space — despite having to play catch up after falling behind over the past few years.

For more on EE’s recent rollout, check out TNW’s speed tests of the service. You can also learn more about the company’s 4G announcement here.

Image credit: CARL COURT / Getty Images