Ofcom has announced the companies
who will be allowed to put in bids for 4G services in the upcoming 4G spectrum
The auction, which is the largest
sale of mobile airwaves ever in the UK, will allow the following companies to
bid for a part of the spectrum: EE (UK); HKT (UK) Limited; 3G; MLL Telecoms and
Niche Spectrum Ventures (both subsidiaries of BT), Telefonica and Vodafone.
The auction is due to take place
next month and bidders will be "competing” to acquire a portion of the spectrum
which is to be rolled out across the UK, including towns and villages across the
UK next year".
"This new spectrum will boost the
amount of airwaves available to mobile phones by more than 75% and will play a
critical role in helping to meet a growing demand for mobile data among
consumers,” Ofcom said in a statement.
"The 4G auction will be a
competitive process that will dictate the shape of the UK mobile phone market
for the next decade and beyond.
"New 4G services will stimulate
investment, growth and innovation in the UK and deliver significant benefits to
consumers in terms of better, faster and more reliable mobile broadband
connections,” added Ofcom Chief Executive Ed Richards.
Following its assessments of the
UK mobile market, the regulators found "that UK consumers are likely to benefit
from better services at lower prices if there are at least four credible
national wholesalers of mobile services.”
In order to achieve the interests
of competition, Ofcom has designed the auction in a specific manner. Bidders
can compete for parts of the spectrum in different bands: 800MHz and 2.6GHz.
The lower end of the spectrum was freed up when terrestrial TV was turned off
and Ofcom say that it’s "ideal for widespread mobile coverage”.
The higher frequency is ideal for
faster mobile speeds and both bands are "being packaged in smaller lots for the
auction”. The combination of higher and lower frequencies means that there is
the "potential” to offer 4G across the UK and cope with inner-city and urban demand.
4G will be significantly faster
than 3G and the mobile broadband technology is expected to allow people to stream movies,
watch TV and be closer in speeds to fixed line home broadband. It’s thought 4G
will be around 5-7 times faster, with average speeds of 6Mbps.To find out more about the new services, visit
the 4G consumer
page which gives further information on the auction itself and what
benefits mobile users are expected to see from the new technology.