Feeds

Ofcom sets out mega-auction timetable

No 4G until 2014

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Ofcom's chief executive has laid out the timetable for auctioning off the digital dividend spectrum, and it will be 2014 before it fills up with 4G radio.

The details were laid out during a speech at the FT World Telecoms Conference. Ofcom plans a consultation for February lasting until May, the auction details will then be announced at the end of next year, with the auction taking place the year afterwards (2012). That means awarding spectrum early 2013, with large-scale deployment not expected until 2014.

The bands in question are the analogue TV bands, and some spectrum around 2.6GHz which used to be known as "3G overflow" but these days is just known as 2.6GHz. The TV bands were never expected to be available until after 2012, but Ofcom has been trying to get shot of 2.6GHz for years – only to become embroiled in various delaying actions on the part of companies who didn't want to see a WiMAX start-up launching early.

Now that WiMAX is dead (it's not sleeping, don't be silly), and Ofcom has decided that the operators won't be allowed to deploy 4G (LTE) in their existing 3G (or 2G) bands, then the mega auction is the only way to get a national 4G network.

A similar restriction, leading to fear of being left out, drove the 3G prices to stratospheric levels, though it's hard to imagine operators falling for that a second time. What operators will do is fight for auction terms that fit their preconceived notion of what's fair.

Operators who didn't get 2G spectrum allocated to them (which would be 3UK) argue for advantageous access this time around, and say that incumbents should be forced to hand over some spectrum before bidding. That spectrum won't be so valuable, being restricted to 3G technologies, but is very unfairly distributed at the moment. Several of the operators will be looking to the mega auction terms and conditions for redress.

This is why the timetable set out by Ofcom is dependent on "there being no legal challenge to [2G refarming] or any of our subsequent decisions". So best not pre-order your 4G handset for delivery January 2014, not yet anyway. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
Trans-Pacific: Google spaffs cash on FAST undersea packet-flinging
One of 6 backers for new 60 Tbps cable to hook US to Japan
Tech city types developing 'Google Glass for the blind' app
An app and service where other people 'see' for you
UK mobile coverage is BETTER than EVER, networks tell Ofcom
Regulator swallows this line and parrots it back out at us. What are they playing at?
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.