From today, Ofcom is permitting mobile operators to use frequencies allocated for 2G services, for 3G services. This will help to increase coverage and capacity of 3G services which are becoming more popular as increasingly mobile phone users are switching to smartphones. According to Ofcom's Communications Market Report last year, there has been an 81% increase in smartphone use to 12.8 million in May 2010 from the previous year.
The move will benefit users in more remote areas which currently don't receive a strong 3G signal as the 2G bands are in a part of the spectrum which can carry signals further. Also signals inside buildings are likely to improve. Some network operators have previously raised concerns that the current way in which spectrum was awarded made some of these legacy frequencies particularly desirable.
More details on the announcement is available on the Ofcom website.