Another important stage in the race to start a competitive 4G network in the UK has been reached, as Ofcom has released the final details concerning its spectrum auction, which will take place early next year. While EE already has its 4G network up and running, other networks need to buy 4G-compatible spectrum from Ofcom before they can compete.
Those interested on bidding – O2, Vodafone, EE and Three are all given, but there could be one or two surprises too – must submit their applications , along with a deposit, before 11 December. Then, following a review procedure, the bidding will start in January. Bids will be placed using a special software package, and Ofcom has set the reserve prices for its spectrum, the total of which comes to £1.3bn.
With the bidding closed, winners will be notified in February and March, where they’ll be told the final cost too. Once the license fees have been paid and the licenses sent out, we can expect to see networks launching 4G LTE services in May and June.
Ofcom closes its statement with what they expect 4G to offer here in the UK, saying it should be five to seven times faster than 3G, and closer to home broadband speeds.
Anyone wanting faster mobile data speeds right now can look at EE’s 4G network, which operates on a different frequency than its future competitors, but it only works in select cities at the moment, with more to be added before the end of the year.