UK 2.6GHz auction slips into 2011, impacting LTE/WiMAX deployments

Having been positioned for auction in 2007, the UK 2.6GHz spectrum auction now seems further delayed with the likely target being 2011 before any movement is made.

According to Kim Meek, the government appointed independent spectrum broker, this slippage had been due to a number of factors including the T-Mobile/Orange merger, and threatened legal action from British Telecom.

The proposal from Meek wants Vodafone and O2 to receive 800MHz allocations only if they surrender an equal amount of 900MHz spectrum. And T-Mobile and Orange should be able to bid only for limited amounts of 2.6GHz, unless they give up some holdings at 1.8GHz or 2.1GHz. He has also proposed making 2.1GHz 3G licences indefinite in length, in return for commitments from celcos to improve 3G coverage.

All five mobile networks are being offered indefinite extensions to their 3G licences, currently due to expire in 2021, in return for investing in mobile broadband infrastructure. Meek said that plans to develop a 'Digital Britain' had come at the wrong time in the electoral cycle and urged the next government to take a fresh look at some of the complicated issues arising from the Digital Britain report.

For more on this story:
Rethink Wireless

Related stories:
Licensing 2.6GHz band is critical to success of LTE - GSMA
Swedish 2.6GHz auction prices will act as guide to others
Clearwire comes to Spain with mobile WiMAX
Vodafone Germany tests LTE in digital dividend spectrum