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UK 4G auction kicks off

Eager to use 4G handsets such as the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE or the Nokia Lumia 920 on other network operators aside from EE? If this is the case, we have good news for you. The UK 4G auction kicks off today, with Vodafone, O2, and EE bidding for a chunk of the 4G lot.4g-uk

Speaking on Ofcom’s website, Ed Richards, Chief Executive of the regulator, said, “Today’s 4G auction is a very significant milestone for the UK’s communications sector.

“It will release the essential raw material for the next wave of mobile digital services. This will change the way we consume digital media in both our personal and working lives and deliver significant benefits to millions of consumers and businesses across the country.”

So how does the bidding process work? The site explains, “Bids are being placed online over secure connections, using software that has been developed specifically for the auction. The bidding will continue over several rounds and is expected to take a number of weeks until the final winners are known.”

Speaking about when winning bidders can start offering their 4G services, Ofcom says, “Once fees are paid, licences will be granted, enabling operators to start rolling out new networks. It is expected that services will be launched by a range of providers from late spring / summer 2013.”

Explaining the auction lots, the watchdog says, “Bidders will be competing for 28 lots of spectrum in two separate bands – 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz. The lower frequency 800 MHz band is part of the ‘digital dividend’ freed up when analogue terrestrial TV was switched off, which is ideal for widespread mobile coverage.

“The higher frequency 2.6 GHz band is ideal for delivering the capacity needed for faster speeds. These two bands add up to 250 MHz of additional mobile spectrum, compared to 333 MHz in use today. Both bands are being packaged into smaller lots of spectrum for the auction.

“This combination of low and high frequency spectrum 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.”

Excited other networks will soon offer 4G services? Share your thoughts through a comment below.