Ireland is one just three states in the European Union that has yet to introduce 4G mobile services to customers.

EU vice president Neelie Kroes said the union as a whole was lagging behind the United States in the roll-out of next generation mobile services, with only Germany, Estonia and Sweden at an advanced stage of their 4G rollout.

A 4G network is capable of providing faster and more reliable connection speeds to users, something that is becoming increasingly necessary as smartphone and tablet usage increases.

Around 25% of European citizens have 4G services, according to a statement from the EU, compared to 90% in the US.

European coverage is also heavily focused on urban areas, with rural access almost non-existent.

Ms Kroes said that the EU was “teetering on the edge of network collapse” because of the failure of mobile operators to meet the rapid growth in demand for connectivity.

The European Union said it had made spectrum available to meet this demand, however allocation at national level had been beset with problems and delays.

The fragmentation of networks across the union was also causing problems, it said.

The European Commission is planning to encourage greater coordination of spectrum licensing to remedy this, while also looking at ways of enforcing the allocation and use of spectrum at a national level.