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Spectrum decisions likely to face delays, says Meek

UK regulator Ofcom’s former policy chief Kip Meek has said that key decisions about UK spectrum allocation are likely to be delayed by the timing of the general election.

Speaking at the Westminster eForum in London yesterday, Meek, who was appointed ‘spectrum broker’ after the interim version of Lord Stephen Carter’s Digital Britain report was published in January last year, said that decisions about the auction of 2.6GHz spectrum, which was originally scheduled for 2008, and the 800MHz ‘digital dividend’ spectrum, were “complex but important”. However the timing of the Digital Britain report so close to this year’s general election is likely to lead to further delays.

Spectrum in the 2.6GHz band can be used for so-called 4G or LTE mobile services. However, some mobile operators want to delay the auction of this until a decision is taken on the future of the 900MHz band currently used for 2G services. T-Mobile and O2 succeeded in delaying the process in 2008 following legal action. The government has planned to auction the 800MHz spectrum at the same time as 2.6GHz.