Ofcom auction of MoD spectrum for 4G will take place in early 2016

Ofcom has revealed the rough timeframe for when Ministry of Defence spectrum will be auctioned off to help boost mobile broadband bandwidth in the UK.

You might recall that Ofcom first announced this move back in May, noting that fresh spectrum would be needed to cope with the growing numbers of folks going online on their mobile devices.

The auction – which will involve 190MHz of spectrum across two bands, 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz – will be auctioned in "early 2016", Ofcom said.

The slab of spectrum is particularly suited to high-speed services such as 4G broadband (and 5G down the line), and to give you some idea of the amount of spectrum involved, it's three-quarters of the amount of the 4G spectrum which was sold off in Ofcom's major auction back in 2013.

Reserve prices for this new spectrum have been set at a total of £70 million, with no restrictions on the amount that any one buyer can purchase. This is because Ofcom doesn’t want to prevent a network from buying large blocks of adjacent spectrum, as these would be well suited to driving ultrafast speeds for the likes of 5G.

Philip Marnick, Ofcom Spectrum Group Director, said: “Spectrum is the essential resource which fuels the UK’s wireless economy. This auction is an important step in ensuring that the UK has the wireless capability to deliver and support new technology.

“We’re responding to rapid change and innovation in the communications sector, which is placing greater demands on spectrum. Part of our plan to meet this demand is by making new spectrum available and allowing it to be used in a number of different ways.”