Government whip cracking pays off
UK regulator Ofcom has finally unveiled details of how the nation’s 4G spectrum will be auctioned, though money raised will only be a fraction of that garnered for 3G. Applications for the 800 MHz and 2.6G Hz bands will be accepted on December 11th 2012, less than a month away, with the qualification stage to determine which companies can actually bid decided soon after. The reserve price for the spectrum sell-off will be a mere £1.3 billion, much less than the £22 billion raised for 3G licences, though whoever wins will be under an obligation to reach 98 per cent of the UK.At present only EE has been able to offer 4G by re-deploying existing spectrum, though Ofcom’s decision to let it do so enraged rival phone operators such as Vodafone, O2 and Three.
It led to threats of litigation before the goverment intervened, cracking the whip over Ofcom to bring forward the 4G auction dates.
Details of the new timetable released today [12th November 2012] reveal how the principal round of bidding will now commence in January , followed by the actual awarding of contracts over the next two months.
If all goes to plan the UK’s new 4G services will then be launched in May and June next year .