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November 10, 2014

UK military airwaves go to auction

4G auction set to begin by late 2015 or early 2016

By CBR Staff Writer

Airwaves currently used by the UK Ministry of Defence could soon be freed up to cater to the growing demand for mobile broadband, as per plans being proposed by British telecoms watchdog Ofcom.

With the 4G auction set to begin by late 2015 or early 2016, phone companies will be able to bid for the radio spectrum within the 2.3 GHz and 3.4 GHz bands. The auction is expected to generate £50m to £70m.

The latest auction, which is the second of its kind, forms part of the Government’s initiative to release Britain’s airwaves for civil use as the military has shifted to other communications.

Ofcom Spectrum Group director Philip Marnick said: "Today marks an important step in ensuring that the UK has sufficient spectrum to support our wireless economy.

"It comes in response to the fast pace of change and innovation taking place in the communications sector, which is placing increaseddemands on how spectrum is used by all industries.

"One important way of meeting this demand is making new spectrum available and its use as flexible as possible."

As part of the latest proposals, Ofcom plans to sell an overall 190MHz of spectrum in the two bands – corresponding to about three-quarters of the airwaves freed up by Ofcom through the 4G auction last year.

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Ofcom said in a statement: "The auction is designed to be fair and transparent and enable the spectrum to be awarded to those who can put it to the most efficient use and in the best interests of consumers.

"Ofcom proposes to auction the spectrum in 38 lots of 5 MHz, and bidders can request a minimum bid of four lots per band."

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