Ofcom announces 4G auction bidders

Ofcom announces 4G auction bidders

Ofcom has announced the mobile operators that have registered their interest in the auction of the 4G spectrum in the UK.

Vodafone Limited, Telefónica UK Limited, Everything Everywhere Limited, HKT (UK) Company Limited, Hutchison 3G UK Limited, MLL Telecom Ltd and Niche Spectrum Ventures Limited have all qualified for the auction.

Each of the bidders are set to compete to acquire new capacity to roll out superfast mobile broadband services to cities, towns and villages around  the UK, with individuals and those using their mobile devices for work set to benefit greatly.

Ed Richards, Ofcom chief executive, said: "The 4G auction will be a competitive process that will dictate the shape of the UK mobile phone market for the next decade and beyond.

"New 4G services will stimulate investment, growth and innovation in the UK and deliver significant benefits to consumers in terms of better, faster and more reliable mobile broadband connections."

The new spectrum released by Ofcom will boost those available for mobile phones by more than 75 per cent and the watchdog believes the release will help to meet a growing demand for mobile data.

Without the launch of the spectrum and the potential availability of white spaces in the future, the UK could be facing a capacity crunch, as more and more people use the technology for work-related purposes.

Bidders will be competing for two separate bands of spectrum, 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz. The lower frequency has been made available by the switching off of terrestrial TV. The space created through the "digital dividend" will help create widespread mobile coverage.

However, the higher frequency band is ideal for delivering the capacity for faster speeds across the UK, which will be used to download and access documents faster than ever on smartphones and tablet devices.

The two bands add up to 250 MHz of additional mobile spectrum, compared to 333 MHz in use today and the combination of the two creates the potential for 4G mobile broadband services to be widely available across the UK, while offering capacity to cope with significant demand in urban centres.

Once the 4G services are up and running around the country they should provide faster speeds when it comes to surfing the web on mobiles, as well as imporved download speeds.

Initial 4G networks will be at least five to seven times faster than 3G when it comes to downloads.

One firm that is looking forward to the chance to get their 4G services up and running in the new year is Vodafone. The firm's chief executive Vittorio Colao recently said he wished he was younger so he could enjoy the revolution that the rollout of faster services will provide.

"I wish I was 20 today so I could see the impact of this revolution fully deployed, instead my children will enjoy it," he said.

Mr Colao believes that it is only when the likes of Vodafone get their 4G services up and running that British smartphone and tablet users will get the full effect of the technology.