UK 4G spectrum bidding commences today

23 January 2013 | Kavit Majithia


Bidding for 4G spectrum in the UK has begun with seven bidders competing to acquire airwaves, Ofcom has announced today.

New spectrum available will double the amount of airwaves available for mobile broadband services on a range of devices, with Everything Everywhere, PCCW subsidiary HKT, Hutchison 3G, MLL Telecom, Niche Spectrum Ventures (BT subsidiary), Telefónica and Vodafone bidding in the process.

“Today’s 4G auction is a very significant milestone for UK’s communications sector,” said Ed Richards, Ofcom chief executive. “It will release the essential raw material for the next wave of mobile digital services.”

Ofcom claims the UK is the most competitive mobile phone market in Europe, with consumers able to benefit from better services at lower prices compared to other countries worldwide.

The UK watchdog has designed the auction to ensure at least four different operators have sufficient spectrum to serve as credible national 4G wholesalers. It says, by doing this, there will be long-term benefits for the UK economy rather than short-term initial revenue benefits raised by the auction.

Bidding will continue over several rounds, and will be expected to take a number of weeks until the final winners are known. Operators are expected to launch 4G services in spring/summer 2013.