Ofcom has finalised the rules and schedule for the upcoming UK 4G spectrum auction, and when the spectrum will go live, with two bands being sold off to network operators.
Those will be the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands, and Ofcom’s target date for those going live is May/June of next year.
Currently, EE has the only 4G LTE service in the UK operating out of a number of major cities on its existing 1800MHz spectrum, so it will effectively have a 4G monopoly for the next six months – a pretty sizeable advantage.
Bidding networks will have to apply for the auction in December, with the actual bidding starting in January, and the results being declared in February/March. The reserve price on the spectrum up for grabs is £1.3 billion.
Ed Richards, Ofcom CEO, said: “Today marks an important shift from preparation to the delivery of the auction, which will see widespread 4G mobile services from a range of providers.
“The entire industry is now focused on the auction itself, with a shared goal of delivering new and improved mobile services for consumers.”
4G speeds should be around five to seven times faster than current 3G speeds, on average, Ofcom noted. Of course, you’ll need a 4G LTE capable phone which supports that particular spectrum to benefit.