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UK 4G auction dates and rules announced, 4G networks expected by May 2013

News by Andrew Kameka on Monday November 12, 2012.

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British telecom regulator Ofcom has published details related to the upcoming auction in which the UK's top mobile operators will bid to purchase spectrum necessary to build an LTE network. The agency announced that the sale of 800MHz and 2.6GHz blocks of spectrum are expected to generate about 1.3 billion GBP (US $2.065 billion), which Techcrunch notes is considerably less than the 22.5 billion GBP (US $35.7 billion) generated by the auctions of 3G spectrum.

Ofcom accelerated its proposed auction dates following pressure from operators upset by the agency's decision to permit EE to launch a 4G LTE network months ahead of its rivals. Those companies will put in competing bids to secure spectrum and rapidly deploy a 4G network to rival EE. Ofcom has posted the following details for the bidding process:

11 December: The application day
Prospective bidders submit their applications to Ofcom together with an initial deposit.

December: Qualification stage
Applications are reviewed to determine who can go on to bid in the auction.

January: The principal stage
Bidding begins. This could take a number of weeks. Bids will be placed online over secure internet connections, using software that has been developed specifically for the auction.

February/March: The assignment stage
Bidders informed what they have won and its cost.

February/March: The grant stage
Licence fees are paid and licences granted.

May/June: New 4G services launched
New 4G services expected to go live from a range of providers.

source: Ofcom

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Andrew Kameka
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.

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