Seven companies will bid for 4G spectrum in the 4G mobile spectrum auction which begins in January. The seven are Everything Everywhere; Telefónica UK; Vodafone; Hutchison 3G UK; HKT UK (a subsidiary of PCCW); MLL Telecom; and Niche Spectrum Ventures (a subsidiary of BT Group).
Bidders will be competing to acquire new capacity to roll out superfast 4G mobile broadband services to cities, towns and villages across the UK. Bidders will be competing for spectrum in two separate bands – 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz. The lower frequency 800 MHz band is part of the ‘digital dividend’ freed up when analogue terrestrial TV was switched off, which is ideal for widespread mobile coverage.
The higher frequency 2.6 GHz band is ideal for delivering the capacity needed to deliver faster speeds. These two bands add up to 250 MHz of additional mobile spectrum, compared to 333 MHz in use today. Both bands are being packaged into smaller lots for the auction.
Telecoms regulator Ofcom says the combination of low and high frequency spectrum creates the potential for 4G mobile broadband services to be widely available across the UK, while offering capacity to cope with significant demand in urban centres. The new spectrum will boost the amount of airwaves available to mobile phones by more than 75 per cent, and play a critical role in helping to meet a growing demand for mobile data among consumers.
“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,” said Ofcom Chief Executive, Ed Richards. “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.”
Ofcom has launched a 4G information page for consumers. You can acess that here.