Light Reading

UK Kicks Off 4G Auction Process

Michelle Donegan
Wireless Bits
Michelle Donegan
12/11/2012
50%
50%

2:35 PM -- After years of delay, the 4G spectrum auction process in the U.K. officially started today. Hurrah!

U.K. regulator Ofcom on Tuesday accepted applications from potential bidders, along with a £100,000 (US$161,000) entry fee. And the deadline to apply was 4:00 p.m. GMT. But we won't know who has applied to bid for spectrum until Ofcom reviews the applications and publishes the list of those who qualified by the end of this year or early next year. That is, unless I can find out first!

This is just the qualification phase for the auction, but it does mark the start of the long-waited event in the British telecom calendar. Bidding is expected to start in January 2013.

Up for grabs is a total of 250MHz of spectrum in the 800MHz and 2.6MHz frequency bands suitable, and even very desirable, for 4G services.

Now that the auction process is under way, U.K. operators 3 , Telefónica UK Ltd. (O2) and Vodafone UK -- assuming they all qualify to participate -- can start playing catch-up with rival EE . The U.K. joint venture of T-Mobile (UK) and Orange UK will enjoy a 4G head start of at least seven months because it won approval from the regulator to launch commercial LTE services on October 30 using the 1800MHz spectrum is already had for 2G services. (See Britain's Bloomin' LTE , EE Shares 4G Lessons Learned and How Not to Do 4G, EE-Style.)

Even once more 4G services are launched sometime in 2013, the U.K. will still lag far behind other LTE markets. Informa Telecoms & Media analyst Thomas Wehmeier put the U.K.'s position into some context in a research note issued today: "By the time the remaining 4G networks are switched on at some point in the middle of next year, more than one-third of Korean and about 20 percent of Japanese consumers will already be actively using 4G services in their respective countries." (See Europe Set for LTE Laggard Status.)

But the big question about this auction is who wants the 4G spectrum most? Ofcom has designed the auction to ensure that there are four wholesale mobile network operators providing 4G services. One scenario, and a likely one, is that the existing four operators -- 3, EE, O2 and Vodafone -- emerge from the auction with new 4G spectrum. But the process is certainly open to a newcomer.

So, will it be the status quo or could there be a fresh player on the U.K.'s 4G scene to shake things up a bit? A new mobile operator in the country would be exciting, for sure, but I don't think it's very likely.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
More Blogs from Wireless Bits
Undercuts Huawei and ZTE in China Mobile 4G tender
CTO says vendor is seeking insight and inspiration from developer competitions
After a few months away, Sarah Reedy is back on the Light Reading team
Four new focus areas for NGMN Alliance highlight the key challenges facing mobile network operators in 2013
9:00 AM Smartphones have bigger mobile data appetites than tablets in Europe
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Ericsson's Hyperscale Datacenter System (HDS) 8000, featuring Intel's Rack Scale Architecture, caused a stir when it was announced at MWC 2015. For more on this revolutionary product, join me on Thursday, April 30 at 12:00 p.m. EST for a Super Webinar event, A New Hardware Paradigm for the Telco Data Center.
LRTV Documentaries
Cox Eyes Cloud-Based Home Networks

4|27|15   |   05:30   |   (0) comments


Cox's Jeff Finkelstein explains how moving services to the cloud will let cable deliver services faster and eliminate constant hardware replacements.
LRTV Documentaries
CableLabs' Clarke Updates Cable Virtualization

4|23|15   |   05:41   |   (1) comment


Former BT exec now leading CableLabs' NFV and SDN efforts explains key role of open source and updates efforts to virtualize the home network.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. II

4|23|15   |   08:19   |   (1) comment


In the second installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about cultural change, network slicing and technology advances.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. I

4|23|15   |   09:27   |   (3) comments


In the first installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about the incredible transformation underway in the communications networking industry.
LRTV Documentaries
LTE Paves the Way for the 5G Revolution

4|20|15   |   4:20   |   (0) comments


Håkan Andersson, head of 5G product strategy of the Radio Business Unit at Ericsson, discusses the role of LTE, the US and other industry verticals in building a true 5G ecosystem.
LRTV Documentaries
The 3GPP's Road to 5G Standardization

4|17|15   |   4:43   |   (0) comments


Satoshi Nagata, chairman of the 3GPP's TSG-RAN group and a manager at NTT Docomo, explains the standardization process for 5G, as well as the biggest challenges and opportunities.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu CTO Makes the Case for a New 5G Air Interface

4|16|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Michael Peeters, CTO of wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, explains why 5G will require a new air interface to meet its diverse performance targets.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu + Nokia: The New Uber-Vendor

4|15|15   |   2:42   |   (4) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Gabriel Brown discusses the technological and competitive opportunities and challenges if a merger between Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia comes to pass.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Data Center Power Play

4|15|15   |   6:22   |   (0) comments


Huawei has developed industry-leading energy efficiency capabilities for its indoor and outdoor data center solutions, explains Dr. Fang Liangzhou, vice president of Huawei's Network Energy product Line.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Routers, Switches Get the Green Mark

4|15|15   |   2:02   |   (0) comments


TUV Rheinland's Frank Dudley explains how Huawei's routers and switches have been successfully tested by energy efficiency experts and have gained Green Mark Certification.
LRTV Documentaries
A Finn, a Frenchman & a Guy From New Jersey Walk Into a Merger...

4|15|15   |   3:17   |   (0) comments


Stop us if you've heard this one before... Light Reading CEO Founder & CEO Steve Saunders weighs in on the technical and cultural implications of a Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent merger.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accounting for Better Solutions

4|10|15   |   02:31   |   (1) comment


Murad Yousuf, CTO at Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Finance (Dept. of Zakat & Income Tax), talks about the benefits of deploying router technology from Huawei.
Upcoming Live Events
May 6, 2015, Georgia World Congress, Atlanta, GA
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
In its latest survey covering network operators' plans and strategies for ICT transformation, Heavy Reading asked telecom operators worldwide to identify the most important goals and objectives for their ICT transformation initiatives. Heavy Reading also asked operators about the importance of a "digital first" strategy, which enables customers to complete an interaction across different digital channels, such as web and mobile self-service and social media.
Hot Topics
Comcast Formally Ends Its Bid for TWC
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/24/2015
Comcast Reportedly Dropping $45B TWC Bid
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 4/23/2015
Adtran Is Developing White Box GPON Tech
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 4/24/2015
Google's WiFi-First Mobile Service 'Fi' Is Here
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/22/2015
Amazon Earnings: What to Watch For
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 4/23/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Many leading communications companies can claim to have undergone significant periods of reinvention during their histories, but none have been through more major ...
Data Center Interconnect, or DCI, is one of the hottest sectors in telecom currently. Since coming back to Light Reading last year, prodigal-son style, I've ...
Cats with Phones
Learning Curve Click Here
Pierre could never remember how to use Excel.
Latest Comment