Plans for a 4G auction for mobile phone services have been unveiled by the telecoms regulator Ofcom.
The sales process for the bandwidth is expected to start later this year but bidding between networks will likely begin in early 2013, in line with the previous Ofcom timetable. The communications industry regulator expects consumer services to start in late 2013.
Ofcom is hoping to introduce further market entrants into the bidding process in order to promote competition, with newcomer Hutchison 3G earmarked as a potential competitor.
The regulator said via a press release this week: “In the interests of competition, Ofcom has decided to reserve a minimum amount of spectrum in the auction for a fourth operator.
“This could be either Hutchison 3G or a new entrant altogether.”
The plans should see mobile broadband rolled out to at least 98% of people in rural areas across the UK and will eventually result in download speeds of up to 300Mbps.