UK Begins 800/2.6GHz Auction Process

U.K. regulator Ofcom kicked off the 4G auction on Tuesday, accepting applications from potential bidders, along with a £100,000 (US$161,000) entry fee. The deadline to apply was 4:00 p.m. GMT. It marks the start of the bidding process that will begin in ernest in January 2013.

But we won’t know who has applied to bid for spectrum until Ofcom reviews the applications and publishes the list of those who qualified by the end of this year or early next year, says Light Reading. Up for grabs is a total of 250MHz of spectrum in the 800MHz and 2.6MHz frequency bands, compared to 333 MHz in use today.

Currently, only Everything Everywhere offers LTE service in the U.K., using their refarmed 1800 MHz band. Competing mobile operators Telefónica UK (O2), Vodafone UK and 3 will be able to start playing catch-up with rival Everything Everywhere.

The UK has decided to break the 190 MHz-wide band of 2.6 GHz frequencies into two groups, 140 MHz of paired frequencies and 70 MHz of unpaired.

Critics might argue that the UK has acquiesced to big carriers, “wasting” frequencies for frequency division — when the world has clearly moved from symmetrical voice to asymmetrical data.

United Kingdom has a total of 80 million subscribers, with a 130.55% penetration rate. Mobile operators in the UK include:

A 50-50 venture of Vodafone and Telefónica will encompass a combined 18,500 cell tower masts, an increase of roughly 40 percent for each operator, for LTE service.

Telefónica already shares its network with Vodafone in Spain and with T-Mobile in the Czech Republic.

While the existing four operators may emerge from the auction with new 4G spectrum, the process is certainly open to a newcomer, says Light Reading.

Related Dailywireless articles include; Ofcom: LTE This Year for Everything, Everywhere, Joint LTE Network in UK Planned by Vodafone and Telefónica, UK Spectrum Auction: Delayed Again?, UK Spectrum Auction: Legal Threat from 02UK?, UK Delays 4G Auction, Ofcom: White Spaces by 2013, UK Gets Free Public WiFi, Europe’s Digital Divide Auction, German 4G Auction: It’s Done, Auctions Winding Down in Germany & India, Germany 4G Auctions Begin, Europe to Follow, EU: Global LTE Roaming at 1.8 GHz, End Near for Indian WiMAX?, India’s Broadband Auction: It’s Done, TD-LTE Gains Momentum, Yota Dumps WiMAX, Australia: WiMAX to TD-LTE, UK Getting LTE, WiMAX to TD-LTE: Everybody’s Doin’ It, Australia’s Optus Time Slices LTE

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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