Defence to sell part of its radio spectrum

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) says it will auction some of the radio spectrum it owns in a move that will increase the capacity for 4G mobile services.

The spectrum being sold is below the 15GHz frequency, which is seen as the most useful type because it can be used for a wide range of communications. Demand for this is mounting, fuelled by rising use of data-hungry devices such as smartphones and tablets.

The sale will give private operators the chance to buy more spectrum to support the introduction of 4G mobile services to people in cities, towns and villages across the UK.Alternatively, the spectrum could be used by fixed-line operators to provide wireless access to broadband services.

The MoD says it owns a lot of spectrum – around 75 per cent of that which is publicly held. It says it does not need all that and that the part up for sale is being cleared of military users.

The minister for defence equipment, support and technology, Philip Dunne, said: “We welcome this opportunity to free up much-needed spectrum. We hope that the sale will help drive the roll-out of new generation networks and universal access to broadband, both of which are vital to the UK’s prosperity.”

The spectrum auction is planned to be completed by the summer of 2014.

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