Ofcom has officially begun the 4G allotment process, having opened the application window at 10:00 this morning (11 December). Interested parties are required to hand in their applications by 16:00 alongside an initial deposit of £100,000. Successful applicants will be notified by the end of the year as to whether they will be allowed to take part in the spectrum auction in January 2013.
“We have fired the starting gun on the 4G auction process. In the past year alone, mobile internet usage has doubled. The 4G auction will release crucial capacity to support future growth, helping to boost UK productivity, innovation and drive significant improvements to mobile broadband availability across the UK,” said Ofcom CEO Ed Richards.
The telecoms authority will review the applications "ensuring the information submitted is correct through to ensuring that there is no overlap between applications, which could distort the auction."
Bidding will be separated into two bands: the 800MHz frequency, which was freed up by the termination of analogue terrestrial TV earlier this year, and the higher 2.6GHz frequency, which is “ideal for delivering the capacity needed to deliver faster speeds to large numbers of consumers in towns and cities across the UK”. Both bands will offer 250 MHz of additional mobile spectrum that will be broken down into smaller lots to provide LTE access for multiple operators.
“This combination of low and high frequency spectrum creates the potential for 4G mobile broadband services to be widely available across the UK, while offering capacity to cope with significant demand in urban centres,” said Ofcom in a statement.