The UK’s telecoms regulator Ofcom has published the final regulations and timetable for the country’s long-in-the-making 4G mobile spectrum auction. In making the announcement, the watchdog has confirmed the reserve prices for the 800MHz and 2.6GHz frequencies, with the combined total standing at GBP1.3 billion (USD2.07 billion).
In terms of the timings for the sale process, a provisional deadline of 11 December 2012 has been set for the submission of applications from prospective bidders, although Ofcom has said it plans to confirm this date within two weeks, once regulations related to the 4G spectrum sale have come into force on 23 November 2012. Subsequently, following a qualification stage in December, bidding is expected to begin the following month, with the regulator noting that this stage could take ‘a number of weeks’. In either February or March, dependent on how long the bidding process runs for, winning bidders will be informed of which concessions they have secured, and fees will become payable, following which the licences will be granted. According to Ofcom’s proposed schedule, meanwhile, commercial 4G services are then expected to be inaugurated by June 2013, bringing competition to the UK’s largest cellco by subscribers EE, which launched commercial Long Term Evolution (LTE) services last month using its existing spectrum holdings in the 1800MHz band.