SHEFFIELD has been chosen as one of the first cities in the UK to benefit from new fourth generation superfast mobile services.
Business leaders welcomed the news that the city is one of only 16 picked to get 4G before the end of the year.
The technology allows uninterrupted access to the web on the move, and quicker download speeds up to five times faster than 3G.
Richard Wright, executive director at Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, told The Star: “I think it will be beneficial because it removes a barrier to trade.
“What it means is that we are not at a disadvantage.
“We are a trading region, we trade internationally, so this will help in speaking with contacts and suppliers.
“Absolutely we need it - we’ve got to keep up with a lot of the rest of the world.”
Creative and digital industries are most likely to benefit from the boost, although concerns have been raised about the potential cost in buying new devices to access the service.
Lawyer Peter Rawlinson, chairman of the Sheffield Small Business Forum and a partner at Wake Smith LLP, said: “It has got to be good for business because it means we are speeding up connections.
“It will improve things in the creative industries in which Sheffield excels.
“If there is a downside, it’s whether there will be costs to businesses in upgrading devices or setting up.”
James Wilson, sector growth manager for creative and digital at Sheffield Council service Creative Sheffield, added: “It should create great efficiencies for business because it is basically a better internet service.”
Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts said the benefits were likely to be felt longer term.
“Clearly it is important we stay at the front of new technology and the fact we’ve been chosen as one of the lead cities indicates Sheffield is a go ahead place.”
Orange and T-mobile owner Everything Everywhere, rebranded as EE, unveiled the technology. Competitors have threatened legal action over Ofcom’s decision last month to allow EE to launch 4G on its existing network. It will be available on several devices, with other initial launch cities including Derby, Nottingham, and Leeds.