The largest ever sale of a mobile spectrum is about to get under way in January 2013 as UK independent communications regulator Ofcom have announced the contenders for the auction of the cleared 800MHz network range .
The largest ever auction of spectrum for 4G mobile services in the UK is set to get under way by the end of 2012. The auction will offer the equivalent of three quarters of the mobile spectrum in use today some 80% more than released in the 3G auction which took place in 2000.
Ofcom has confirmed its decisions on the auction, including measures that will should see mobile broadband rolled out to at least 98% of people in villages, towns and cities across the UK, creating substantial benefits for citizens and consumers.
To ensure that UK consumers continue to benefit from a competitive market, Ofcom has also decided to reserve some of the available spectrum for a fourth national wholesaler other than the three largest mobile operators.
The companies permitted to bid on the 4G airwaves are Vodafone, o2, Everything Everywhere, Three, MLL Telecom, the UK arm of Hong Kong network provider PCCW, HKT and surprisingly BT though Niche Spectrum Ventures.
"The 4G auction will be a competitive process that will dictate the shape of the UK mobile phone market for the next decade and beyond," said Ed Richards, Ofcom chief executive.
"New 4G services will stimulate investment, growth and innovation in the UK and deliver significant benefits to consumers in terms of better, faster and more reliable mobile broadband connections."