Ofcom has finally announced the long-awaited auction of spectrum
service which is expected to lay the path for 4G networks to be rolled out
sometime next year. The actual auctions will be held towards the end of this
4G is the fourth generation mobile technology which it is
hoped will allow mobile broadband coverage for at least 98% of the UK
population; the new spectrum will also allow for much faster data speeds which
are currently available via 3G.
Ed Richards, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: "The 4G auction has been designed to deliver the maximum
possible benefit to consumers and citizens across the UK”.
"As a direct result of the measures Ofcom is introducing,
consumers will be able to surf the web, stream videos and download email
attachments on their mobile device from almost every home in the UK.”
It’s thought that 4G will offer a minimum of two new
spectrum bands, one at a lower frequency of 800MHz and one higher at 2.6GHz.
The lower is expected to widen the current mobile coverage across the UK and
the higher is designed to deliver faster speeds,
"These two bands add up to 250 MHz of additional mobile
spectrum, compared to 333 MHz in use today,” Ofcom said in a statement.
The telecoms regulator has also included to include a fourth
mobile operator to the auction to ensure that competition is fair; this is
likely to be Hutchinson 3G, but this yet to be confirmed and could be another
The new spectrum is designed to provide mobile coverage to
99% of users when outdoors and 95% of those using mobiles indoors. Whilst Ofcom
say that intend to hold the auction as soon as possible, the regulators have
issued a draft
of auction rules which "gives effect to [their] decision”.
"Mobile operators are expected to start rolling out 4G
networks using the auctioned spectrum from the middle of 2013, and to start
offering 4G services to consumers later that year,” Ofcom confirmed.