UK unveils 4G auction plans

The UK government will auction digital dividend spectrum by end-2011, ordering regulator Ofcom to start preparing for the sale yesterday.
Ofcom has been tasked with co-coordinating the sale of 2.6GHz and 800MHz spectrum, assessing the opportunity to increase competition by allowing new players to enter the UK mobile market, and liberalizing 2G spectrum in the 900 and 1800MHz bands.
The regulator must also eliminate fixed-terms on 3G licenses, and allow carriers to trade the licenses, in a bid to boost investment in 3G services and so increase coverage.
Communications minister Ed Vaizey said the new spectrum auction would help keep the UK at the forefront of the mobile revolution, by improving the services available on smartphones.
“[O]ur mobile industry will have access to the 21st century infrastructure it needs to give UK consumers the latest technologies and even better coverage for broadband on their mobile phones.”
A recent 4G auction in Germany raised over €4 billion, however Vaizey set no targets for what the UK auction might generate.