UK 4G auction to kick off in 2012
Ofcom has detailed plans for the UK's 4G auction, with the big spectrum sale due to kick off next year - stating that the additional space is the equivalent of 75 per cent of the mobile spectrum that we currently use and 80 per cent more than 2000's 3G auction.
"This spectrum is essential to meet the UK’s rapid increase in mobile traffic, fuelled by the growth of smartphones and mobile broadband data services such as video streaming, email, messenger services, mapping services and social networking sites," read Ofcom's statement.
"All of these services depend on spectrum – the airwaves that carry information between customers’ mobile handsets and the internet."
The 4G spectrum is split into two bands; 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz, with the former coming from freed-up space from the analogue switch-off and the latter offering super high speeds for your HD packing smartphones and tablets.
Ofcom has split the auction into five "spectrum floors" so all the big four operators have a chance to get involved, with a couple of safeguard caps in place to stop one network from gaining an unfair advantage.
Ofcom Chief Executive, Ed Richards, said: "The auction is not only critical to the future of the UK mobile telecommunications market but it is also of significant importance to the wider economy. It will support a wide range of data services that are fast becoming essential features of the modern world.
"Our role as the independent regulator is to award this spectrum in a way that secures the best use of the spectrum for the benefit of citizens and consumers in the UK.
"That is why we are proposing to design the auction in a way that not only encourages investment but also promotes competition and delivers wide coverage of services."
The auction will begin during Q1 of 2012.
Still not sure what 4G is? Then check out our feature What is 4G? for all the answers.