Ofcom has launched a consultation on how best to sell off the rights to the next generation of mobile networks. The auction of 4G spectrum will be the biggest ever, equivalent to three quarters of the mobile spectrum in use today.
The last Ofcom mobile network auction for 3G in 2000 it raised £22.5 billion for the government, a sum never recouped by the MNOs and it is very unlikely bids will reach that high this time around. The auction is expected to start in the first quarter of 2012.
The actual parts of the spectrum being sold – at the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bandwidths – will be parts of the wireless spectrum freed up by DSO.
“The auction is not only critical to the future of the UK mobile telecommunications market but it is also of significant importance to the wider economy. It will support a wide range of data services that are fast becoming essential features of the modern world,” said Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards in a statement.