British 4G mobile spectrum auction underway

Friday, January 25, 2013

The auction for the mobile spectrum capable of carrying 4G mobile broadband services in the United Kingdom got underway on Thursday. The auction process is expected to take several weeks and will take place online. Mobile network operators are expected to roll out services by July.

4G mobile network technology will bring faster downstream speeds than the current 3G connections allowing for data-intensive surfing on the move such as video streaming. Some mobile users have criticised the industry regulator Ofcom for having taken a long time to start rolling out the 4G technology, with the United Kingdom falling behind many other European countries.

EE (Everything Everywhere) launched the UK’s first 4G network in a number of cities last year, however many people complained due to them being the only service provider. The bidders include the current main UK mobile network operators — Vodafone UK, Telefónica UK (O2), Everything Everywhere and Hutchinson 3G (3) — as well as British Telecommunications.

Ed Richards, the Chief Executive of Ofcom, said of the auction: “It will release the essential raw material for the next wave of mobile digital services. This will change the way we consume digital media in both our personal and working lives and deliver significant benefits to millions of consumers and businesses across the country.”

Each bidder is competing with one another to win combinations of the 28 spectrum ‘lots’ available from the 800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum bands.

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