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Ofcom confirms 2016 spectrum auction for mobile broadband

Ofcom logoUK broadcast regulator Ofcom has confirmed plans for an early 2016 spectrum auction that will free up airwaves for mobile broadband services.

A total of 190 MHz of high-capacity spectrum will be made available in two bands – 2.3 GHz and 3.4 GHz – which Ofcom said are particularly suited for high-speed mobile broadband services because they can carry large amounts of data.

“We’re responding to rapid change and innovation in the communications sector, which is placing greater demands on spectrum. Part of our plan to meet this demand is by making new spectrum available and allowing it to be used in a number of different ways,” said Ofcom spectrum group director, Philip Marnick.

In the UK, 3.4 GHz spectrum is currently being used by UK Broadband for its Relish mobile broadband service in London. This band is already used for wireless broadband in a number of other European countries including Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland

The 2.3 GHz band is currently used for high-speed 4G mobile broadband networks in ten countries outside Europe: Australia, China, India, Norway, Oman, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea and Sri Lanka.

Ofcom is proposing to auction the spectrum in lots of 10 MHz for the 2.3 GHz band and 5 MHz for the 3.4 GHz band.