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Third round of consultations on 2.6GHz auctions

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Ofcom has announced a third consultation on the bidding process for 2.6GHz and 2010MHz, both frequencies being desirable for the next-generation telephony crowd including both the WiMAX and LTE standards.

The newly-available spectrum will be up for auction in 2008, but Ofcom started the consultation process in December 2006, producing its first draft process in August.

This latest consultation (pdf) incorporates the comments on that draft, and Ofcom's responses to them, as well as some changes to the details of the auction process.

The spectrum is expected to be particularly popular, largely because frequencies will be available in large blocks of 10MHz or 20MHz width, enabling a wide range of possible services. This is why the auction is taking so long to get organised. Details such as what information each bidder receives after each round of bidding (currently the amount of the other bids, but not who made them) are still up for discussion.

Each round is currently scheduled to take one day, the bidders getting to see afterwards what combinations everyone else was bidding for. They then have the option to change their own selection as well as the amount they're prepared to pay for it. This makes the auction process more complex, but should raise the maximum revenue - not because it wants the money, of course, but because that ensures the most efficient use of the spectrum, apparently.

Comments on the draft are welcomed until 1 February, and the auction should start in July.

For those willing to stretch higher, Ofcom has also announced (pdf) that applications for licences for 10GHz, 28GHz, 32GHz and 40GHz services must be received on 16 January 2008. ®

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