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UK Regulator Names Bidders in its 4G Spectrum Auction

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The UK's telecoms regulator, Ofcom has named the bidders taking place in the country's LTE spectrum auction next month.

The following organisations have qualified to bid in the auction, which will start in January 2013:

The four incumbents are all confirmed as bidding

  • Everything Everywhere/EE (the merged Orange/T-Mobile UK companies)
  • Telefónica UK (O2)
  • Vodafone
  • Hutchison 3G UK

Potential new entrants to the market include

  • HKT (a subsidiary of Hong Kong's PCCW)
  • MLL Telecom
  • Niche Spectrum Ventures (a subsidiary of BT Group)

This new spectrum will boost the amount of airwaves available to mobile phones by more than 75% and will play a critical role in helping to meet a growing demand for mobile data among consumers.

Ed Richards, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: "The 4G auction will be a competitive process that will dictate the shape of the UK mobile phone market for the next decade and beyond."

Bidders will be competing for spectrum in two separate bands - 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz. The lower frequency 800 MHz band is part of the 'digital dividend' freed up when analogue terrestrial TV was switched off, which is ideal for widespread mobile coverage.

The higher frequency 2.6 GHz band is ideal for delivering the capacity needed to deliver faster speeds. These two bands add up to 250 MHz of additional mobile spectrum, compared to 333 MHz in use today. Both bands are being packaged into smaller lots for the auction.

Ofcom said that this combination of low and high frequency spectrum creates the potential for 4G mobile broadband services to be widely available across the UK, while offering capacity to cope with significant demand in urban centres.

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Tags: ofcom  lte  4g license  UK