4G Auction Plans Finalised by Ofcom

News Article - Monday, 12 November 2012 10:36

By: Kerry Butters Category: Connectivity

Ofcom has published a final timetable for selling off the 4G mobile spectrum in an auction set to take place on the 11 December.

The rules and regulations, which have been put in place ahead of the auction, set out in detail the application process (for network providers), through to bidding and the various licenses allocated to use the spectrum, which was previously used for terrestrial TV before the digital switchover.

Reserve prices have also been set, totalling £1.3m. Whilst the date is initially "provisional”, this is just until regulations come into force and Ofcom are expected to confirm the date within the next two weeks.

Ed Richards, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: "Today marks an important shift from preparation to the delivery of the auction, which will see widespread 4G mobile services from a range of providers.

"The entire industry is now focused on the auction itself, with a shared goal of delivering new and improved mobile services for consumers.”

Prospective bidders should follow a process; applying firstly on December 11 and submitting their proposal to the regulators with a deposit. Applications are then reviewed to determine which networks will be allowed to participate in the auction.

In January, bidding begins and Ofcom point out that "this could take a number of weeks”; bids will be made using software specifically designed for the auction and can be submitted over a secure internet connection.

Once it’s been decided who’s in and who’s out, bidders will be informed by February or March whether they have been successful or not and how much it is going to cost them. Following this license fees and grants are issued.

This means that by the time the whole process has finished, consumers can expect to see 4G services rolled out by other networks than EE, who presently hold the only license to use the spectrum.New services are expected to become available by May or June 2013.

4G offers speeds up to 5-7 times faster than the existing 3G network, bringing mobile broadband closer in line with home broadband. Ofcom has also launched a 4G consumer page for more information on what 4G is and "consumer benefits”.

Ofcom’s full statement on the final regulations for the 4G mobile spectrum auction is available here.

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