British telecom regulator Ofcom has invited suggestions from the mobile industry for auctioning spectrum in the 2.3 GHz and 3.4 GHz bands in late 2015 or early 2016.
The proposed auction of 2.3 GHz and 3.4 GHz bands are aimed at meeting the growing demand for high-end mobile broadband services.
Smartphones such as Apple iPhone 5 and 6, HTC Desire and Samsung Galaxy are compatible for the 2.3 GHz spectrum in select markets. The band will be used for high-speed 4G broadband networks in 10 countries outside Europe, including China, India and Australia.
The 3.4 GHz band is currently being used for 4G wireless broadband in six countries including the UK, Canada and Spain.
Ofcom will auction 190 MHz of spectrum in the two bands – equivalent to around three-quarters of the airwaves released by Ofcom through the 4G auction in 2013. The ministry of defense will be releasing the spectrum as part of a Government initiative to free up public sector spectrum for civil uses.
Ofcom proposes to auction the spectrum in 38 lots of 5 MHz, and bidders can request a minimum bid of four lots per band.
To promote competition, Ofcom has proposed a safeguard cap, limiting operators’ mobile spectrum holdings to 37 percent of relevant spectrum. This overall spectrum cap would include the newly-auctioned spectrum.
Philip Marnick, Ofcom Spectrum Group Director, said: “Today marks an important step in ensuring that the UK has sufficient spectrum to support our wireless economy.”
The consultation closes on 23 January 2015.