Ofcom delays 4G spectrum auction

10 Oct 2011

Ofcom has announced that it is to delay the UK’s 4G spectrum auction by six months, saying that it wants to have a further round of consultation after receiving ‘substantial and strongly argued responses’ during the first round. Originally scheduled for 2009, the auction for spectrum in the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands was initially delayed following changes in government and a failure to reach a consensus between mobile operators and Ofcom. Further delays have seen the timetable slip from the first quarter of 2012 to the second quarter, and in light of Ofcom’s announcement on Friday, the auction will not now take place until the fourth quarter of next year. The watchdog claims that the deployment and launch of Long Term Evolution (LTE) services in the UK need not be delayed, as spectrum would not be released until 2013 anyway. However, the operators say that with an auction not taking place until the end of 2012, it is unlikely that LTE services will be launched in the UK before 2014.

United Kingdom, EE, Hutchison 3G UK (Three UK), O2 UK, Vodafone UK