Android Central

After years of delays, the UK's 4G spectrum auction finally gets underway today, with seven organizations -- including the country's four major carriers -- bidding for 28 lots of spectrum across 800MHz and 2600MHz bands. UK telecommunications regulator Ofcom says bidding will continue over several rounds, and that the bidding process may take "several weeks" to complete. The process is designed "[to put] the spectrum in the hands of the bidders who value it most highly, while also ensuring they pay a competitive price," Ofcom says. 

Ofcom expects successful bidders to be able to launch their own 4G LTE services on the newly-acquired spectrum in "late spring/summer" of this year. Currently EE -- the network formed by the merger of Orange and T-Mobile UK -- is the only UK carrier with 4G services, having launched its network in late 2012 using re-farmed 1800MHz spectrum. EE's service is expected to be available in some 35 British cities by the end of March, though the operator has been criticized over its prices, which are significantly higher than its 3G rivals.

Spring is traditionally when we start to see the first wave of new smartphones reaching the market, and the launch of new 4G LTE networks in the UK alongside desirable new hardware could create a perfect storm of temptation for British smartphone buyers. At the very least, EE's prices should be driven down through increased competition.

If you're interested in exactly how the auction process will work, Ofcom's got a breakdown over at the source link.

Source: Ofcom

 
There are 3 comments

icebike says:

Interesting that OFCOM uses ebay bidding (AKA Vickrey auction) terms, where you bid the maximum you are willing to pay, but you end up paying what ever the second highest bidder's bid was.

Also interesting in that there appears to be no Fair Access requirements like Google was able to engineer in the 700Mhz band auctions in the US. Is fair access to apps and roaming handled differently in the UK such that no special restrictions were needed?

MrLadoodle says:

They are already dump pipes, so any new requirements are not needed. Any EU LTE phone will work on pretty much any other EU LTE network (except iPhone).

speculatrix says:

We never got WiMax in the UK because T-Mobile successfully stalled the process, something I may never forgive them for.
so all the more irritating that they managed to bypass the 4G process and roll-out LTE already!