Ofcom announces plan to auction digital dividend spectrum
22 Mar 11 -

UK communications regulator Ofcom has announced plans to auction spectrum that will most likely be used for 4G mobile broadband services.

The spectrum to be auctioned represents the largest ever single auction of additional spectrum for mobile services in the UK, equivalent to three quarters of the mobile spectrum in use today and 80% more than the 3G auction of 2000. However, the auction is not expected to raise the same amount of cash as the earlier auction, when hype around 3G mobile was at its height.

The auction will be for two spectrum bands – 800MHz and 2.6GHz. The lower frequency 800 MHz band is part of the digital dividend, which is being freed-up as the UK switches from analogue to digital TV. This spectrum is ideal for widespread mobile coverage, according to Ofcom. The 2.6 GHz band is at a higher frequency, and is ideal for delivering the capacity needed to deliver higher speeds. These two bands add up to 250 MHz of additional mobile spectrum.