Mobile broadband to cover at least 98% of UK
By Claire West
The largest ever auction of spectrum for mobile services in the UK is set to get under way by the end of 2012, Ofcom announced today, laying the path for next-generation 4G networks to be rolled out next year.
The auction will offer the equivalent of three quarters of the mobile spectrum in use today — some 80% more than released in the 3G auction which took place in 2000.
The plans should see mobile broadband rolled out to at least 98% of people in villages, towns and cities across the UK. This will be achieved through 4G, the fourth generation of mobile technology, which will deliver much faster mobile data speeds to phones and other wireless devices than presently possible.
Ofcom has confirmed its decisions on the auction, including measures that will see next-generation mobile broadband become available to nearly everyone in the UK, creating substantial benefits for citizens and consumers.
To ensure that UK consumers continue to benefit from a competitive market, Ofcom has also decided to reserve some of the available spectrum for a fourth national wholesaler other than the three largest mobile operators.
Ed Richards, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: “The 4G auction has been designed to deliver the maximum possible benefit to consumers and citizens across the UK.
“As a direct result of the measures Ofcom is introducing, consumers will be able to surf the web, stream videos and download email attachments on their mobile device from almost every home in the UK.”
New mobile capacity
The 4G auction will offer at least two spectrum bands — 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz. The lower frequency 800 MHz band is part of the ‘digital dividend’, which is ideal for widespread mobile coverage. The higher frequency 2.6 GHz band is ideal for delivering the capacity needed to deliver faster speeds. These two bands add... continued on page two >