Ofcom sets UK 4G auction timeline, should see multi-carrier rollout by June 2013
Ofcom has made good on its plans to push forward the auction for the UK’s 4G mobile spectrum auction. Applications will start in December this year and the roll out to consumers is expected to be no later than May / June 2013. Everything Everywhere already has its 4G LTE network rolling out across the UK so this will be a huge relief to the other UK networks.
Ofcom has today published final regulations and a timetable for the 4G mobile spectrum auction – the largest ever sale of mobile airwaves in the UK. This new spectrum will be used to deliver superfast 4G mobile services to people in cities, towns and villages across the UK and will almost double the amount of airwaves currently available to smartphones and tablets that use 3G networks.
The rules set out in detail the process involved in the auction – from applying to take part, through to bidding and finally issuing the licences to use the spectrum. Ofcom has also today confirmed reserve prices for the different lots of spectrum on offer and outlines the timetable for the auction process. Ed Richards, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: ‘Today marks an important shift from preparation to the delivery of the auction, which will see widespread 4G mobile services from a range of providers.
The full time table will see initial applications being sought in December 2012, after an assessment, successful networks will start bidding for space in January 2013. The auction will take place electronically over a number of weeks with the successful bidders being informed in February / March 2013. This will then give the successful networks a few months to start rolling out services which Ofcom believes will be as early as May / June 2013.
These dates should be welcome news to UK consumers; the LTE roll out in the UK is so far behind other nations that it is a bit embarrassing to be honest. Of course many areas are still waiting for the 3G roll out to happen in the UK so this news will not be taken too seriously either. Let’s hope that the LTE roll out really will be a proper roll out and will provide a good service for all; no matter where you live in the UK. Of course it should be noted that the bands that will be available for the UK will not be compatible with the current iPhone 5 or iPad radios.