UK spectrum auction to take place Q4 2012 at the earliest
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The UK’s auction of 4G spectrum is to be further delayed, Ofcom has announced. Originally scheduled to take place in Q1 2012, the auction will now be held in Q4 2012, at the earliest. However, the regulator says that the delay will not have a material affect on the timeline for the roll-out of 4G services in the UK, since the spectrum to be auctioned will not be available for new use until 2013, following completion of digital switchover.
The proposed auction rules, including measures intended to promote competition and to ensure that valuable sub 1GHz spectrum does not become concentrated in the hands of a few operators, have proved controversial. The reason for the delay is that, in light of “substantial and strongly argued responses” to its March 2011 consultation (summarised here), Ofcom plans to go through a further consultation exercise at the end of this year. Stakeholders will have 8 weeks to respond and Ofcom intends to come to a decision and publish a statement on the finalised auction rules in the summer of 2012.