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Ofcom firms up second possible 4G spectrum auction for ‘early 2016’

Telecoms regulator Ofcom has firmed up details of an auction of radio frequency spectrum that could be used to extend 4G mobile services. 

This could mean faster download speeds on your phone as well as great availability of mobile broadband and fixed wireless services in built up, urban areas – these frequencies aren’t ideal for covering large and remote areas, so for this reason Ofcom is removing any kind of national coverage obligations with spectrum purchases. 

Related: Three and Vodafone punters in line for faster 4G downloads – thanks to Qualcomm’s L-band sale and BT, EE, Three, O2 and Vodafone frequency wins – who’s got what?Due to take place early next year, licences for the 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz bands, previously used by the Ministry of Defence, will be put up on the auctioneer’s block for the likes of O2, EE, Vodafone and Three to sniff around. 

ISPs like Relish, whose owners already own a chunk of the 3.4GHz band, will be able to apply for replacement licences as well as bid for more capacity. 

A total of 190MHz of spectrum will be auctioned off, 40MHz of which will come from the 2.3GHz band while the remaining 150MHz will be for 3.4GHz licences. 

Ofcom has set a reserve price of £10 million for 10MHz of the 2.3GHz lot and £1m for a 5MHz of the 3.4GHz lot. At the very least, the Treasury can hope to trouser £70m from the sale – although that wouldn’t come close to making by the £1 billion-odd shortfall from the previous spectrum auction. 

The regulator was able to raise £2.34 billion from the five particpiating networks last time, which was more than a little south of the £3.5 billion chancellor George Osborne was hoping for. 

 

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