Finally the ball is starting to roll with next-generation British mobile broadband, with the auction applications for the 4G spectrum beginning in earnest. Mobile providers have until 4PM today to submit their bids, as well as a £100,000 deposit.
Regulator OfCom will be vetting the bids and handling the auction, which is set to begin sometime early next year, once the applications have all been approved. Expected bidders include O2 and Vodafone, though it’s thought that with its already established 4G network – through re-use of its old 2G spectrum – Everything Everywhere won’t be bidding. Smaller provider Three may still enter a bid, but it has already been sold spectrum space by EE, so it doesn’t necessarily need to.
If it doesn’t, it could anger consumers since the reason the 4G auction was delayed so long was because Three complained that as the smallest operator, it was set to lose out in an auction. The other operators pointed out that with its huge monetary reserves, Three would have no problem competing.
TechCrunch noted that the two spectrums available for application today are for the 800MHZ and 2600MHZ bands. The former has only been made available thanks to the switch from analogue to digital TV signals over the past couple of years.
KitGuru Says: Well it’s about time. This process really has gone on long enough, though I did find it funny to see the providers suddenly stop squabbling once EE began beating them all to the punch.