Ofcom plan auction to help meet the UK’s growing demand for mobile broadband services




Ofcom plans to auction off valuable spectrum to help meet the UK’s demand for mobile broadband services.


The communications regulators announcement will be particularly important to the mobile phone industry, which relies on spectrum to offer internet services to consumers’ smartphones and tablets.


Potential bidders are being invited to comment on proposals for Ofcom’s auction of spectrum in the 2.3 GHz and 3.4 GHz bands, which is expected to take place in late 2015 or early 2016.


The 2.3 GHz and 3.4 GHz spectrum bands are frequencies which could be suitable for providing very high data capacity.


Many existing mobile handsets from major manufacturers including the Apple iPhone 5 and 6, HTC Desire and Samsung Galaxy are already compatible with the 2.3 GHz spectrum in other markets and so it will be the first time the extra band will be available in the UK.


The 3.4 GHz band is currently being used for 4G wireless broadband in six countries including the UK, Canada and Spain.


Ofcom intends to hold an auction for a total of 190 MHz of spectrum in the two bands – equivalent to around three-quarters of the airwaves released by Ofcom through the 4G auction in 2013.


The spectrum is currently used by the Ministry of Defence, and is being made available as part of a wider Government initiative to free up public sector spectrum for civil uses.


The consultation closes on 23 January 2015.