UK sets date for 4G spectrum auction

UK sets date for 4G spectrum auction

UK regulator Ofcom has set out plans for the country's long awaited 4G LTE spectrum auction.

Prospective bidders will be able to submit their applications with an initial deposit from December 11.

From there, bidding will begin in January and licences will be granted in February and March, allowing operators to potentially launch services in May or June.

The reserve price for the spectrum will be a combined total of £1.3 billion.

"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," said Ed Richards, CEO of Ofcom.

The auction process was pushed forward last month following a long running dispute between the UK's mobile operators and the regulator.

Ofcom found itself threatened with legal action after it granted France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom joint venture Everything Everywhere permission to launch LTE services ahead of the market.

Rivals Vodafone and Telefónica only agreed to halt litigation after Ofcom said it would free up 4G spectrum early, allowing the operators to launch their own 4G services from the middle of next year.