Ofcom has announced that there will be no cap on the amount of spectrum that can be bid on at the auction.
The regulator, which is setting reserve prices totalling £70m for the auction next year, said that it didn’t want to stop bidders from acquiring multiple bands of radio waves which could be used to ‘support very fast download speeds, meaning even faster mobile broadband for consumers’.
The spectrum is expected to be bought by networks to supplement existing holdings and is not considered as valuable as some of the other LTE spectrum bandwidths due to its high frequency. It has been made available by the Ministry of Defence as part of the government’s efforts to free up the radio bandwidth for mobile broadband usage.
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Ofcom explained that a total of 190 MHz of high-capacity spectrum was being made available in two bands – 2.3 GHz and 3.4 GHz. It added that this type of spectrum was ‘particularly suited for high-speed mobile broadband services, because they can carry large amounts of data’ and was ‘the equivalent to around three-quarters of the spectrum released by Ofcom through the 4G auction in 2013.’
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Philip Marnick, Ofcom Spectrum Group director, said: ‘Spectrum is the essential resource which fuels the UK’s wireless economy. This auction is an important step in ensuring that the UK has the wireless capability to deliver and support new technology.
‘We’re responding to rapid change and innovation in the communications sector, which is placing greater demands on spectrum. Part of our plan to meet this demand is by making new spectrum available and allowing it to be used in a number of different ways.’
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