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January 6, 2013

Bid for UK’s 4G spectrum begins

The auction is expected to generate £3.5bn for the Treasury.

By CBR Staff Writer

The UK’s long-awaited 4G spectrum auction, which will begin on Monday, is expected to generate £700m more annually from existing bandwidth.

Ofcom will confirm the final line up of bidders by issuing passwords for the electronic auction system, which will allow teams of lawyers, accountants, economists and network technicians to manage their bids during the two-month competition.

The bid would allow firms to have the ability to launch 4G mobile broadband services across the UK in 2013, and the new spectrum is expected to boost the amount of available airwaves to mobile phones by 75%.

According to Ofcom, the companies that meet the criteria to bid in the auction include EE, HKT, Hutchison 3G UK, MLL Telecom, Telefónica UK, Vodafone and Niche Spectrum Ventures.

The Guardian reported that Vodafone and O2 would pay a higher cost for licences as they both own a large portion of 900MHz spectrum and a small part of 1800MHz, which was originally provided for 2G voice services but is currently offered for 3G and 4G.

Following the auction, Ofcom will allocate new fees for 900MHz and 1800MHz licences. The government has said the fees will ‘particular regard to the sums bid for licences in the auction’ in order that the fees ‘reflect full market value’.

4G services, however, may not be sufficient to meet the increasing consumer demand for data in the future.

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Ofcom has announced preperations for a 5G future in the UK as it predicts consumers will use up to 80 times more mobile data by 2030.

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