Ofcom plans spectrum auction

UK comms regulator Ofcom has published details of its plans to auction radio spectrum suitable for a range of services including mobile television and satellite radio. A number of possible uses of the 1452 – 1492 MHz band, the so-called L-Band', have been identified including: mobile multimedia services including mobile TV which could be deployed using a variety of technologies; satellite digital radio; and broadband wireless access or high speed Internet on the move. Ofcom expects the auction process, which will be held online, to start in spring 2008.

The spectrum will be released on a technology and service neutral basis, allowing users the flexibility to decide what technology to use, what services to offer and to change their use of the spectrum over time. All licences will be tradable.

The release of the spectrum in the 1452 – 1492 MHz band is part of a wider programme to release around 400 MHz of spectrum at prime frequencies below 3 GHz. Other awards in this programme include the digital dividend – the highly-valued spectrum that will be freed-up through the switch to digital television plus Channel 36 which is within the television bands – and the 2.6 GHz bands.

Ofcom's objective is to promote the most efficient use of the UK's valuable spectrum resource, benefiting consumers by providing access to new services, greater choice and competition. Ofcom's research has shown that the use of the radio spectrum contributes £37bn or 3 per cent to UK GDP.

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