Ofcom releases details of 4G auction for 2015

Ofcom releases details of 4G auction for 2015

Ofcom has released details of its plans to release more spectrum for 4G services, ahead of a proposed auction later this year.

The regulator claims availability will be limited in order to ensure networks are safeguarded against impending mergers.

It has since asked potential bidders how they think it should release the 2.3 GHz and 3.4 GHz spectrum bands, which are currently being used by the government for communications.

Ofcom said: "[Our] objective is to award the frequencies in a way that will allow consumers to enjoy greater access to high-capacity mobile internet without undue delay.

"Today's consultation invites potential bidders to comment on an option where Ofcom would award most of the newly available spectrum later this year, or early in 2016. The remaining frequencies would be held back for award at a later date."

It added that holding back certain parts of the spectrum was going to be more preferable than offering it all in one go as it would make it easier to "address concerns about overly concentrated holdings, if this proved necessary at a later date".

Ofcom added that licences for the released spectrum would be awarded on an indefinite term, with an initial 20-year period before fees would again be due.

Consultations with potential bidders is set to close on June 26th and the body's findings will then be released to the public.

It has been a busy recent period for Ofcom, with BT challenging the organisation's new chief executive Sharon White to a court case over a decision to introduce restrictions on the wholesale price of superfast broadband.

The case against the measures has been lodged with the Competition Appeals Tribunal, officially disputing Ofcom’s new "margin squeeze" test.

Those measures were designed by the regulator to ensure that Sky and TalkTalk, which both rely on BT's network to serve their customers, have the ability to make reasonable profits on superfast broadband.