UK 4G Auction: High Speed, But When?

Ofcom, the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industry, is starting to plan out how it will run the UK's biggest ever spectrum auction. The auction includes the spectrum recently released as part of the digital dividend, or that which was freed up from the switch to digital TV.

Ofcom is hoping to sell off the free spectrum in such a manner that all 4 of the major UK networks each get a fair share, and thus ensuring us, the customer, will still have a choice when it comes to the next-gen network. They are also attempting to keep a way open for the smaller providers to successfully get a piece of the action, suggesting these aggregate their bids in order to be successful in any bid attempt.

The consultation on the best way to go about this is available to read here if you want to get some more in depth knowledge, but it's quite a read at 133 pages!

The Three network is the most vulnerable of the four big boys, with the others being Vodafone, O2 and Everything Everywhere (Orange + T-Mobile). Three is particularly worried as they are the smallest network from the big four, and have the least amount of spectrum too with them not having a 2G network (1GHz spectrum). Ofcom have said they will cap spectrum to ensure that someone like Three is still able to compete and gain an adequate amount of the new spectrum.

The consultation (link above) closes at the end of May, with the actual auction planned to take place in the first half of next year,, however this could easily be delayed if the networks are unhappy with the outcome of the consultation. Hopefully this will go smoothly as planned. as I for one can't wait to get my teeth into some ultra fast mobile speed!