Feeds

Ofcom admits 4G auction will slip

More consultation aimed at placating all parties

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

Struggling to cope with responses to its consultation, Ofcom will refine its 4G auction proposals for the end of 2011, and seek feedback with a view to commencing in Q4 2012.

The first proposals were published earlier this year, and generated huge amounts of feedback. Since then Ofcom has repeatedly claimed the process was on track, but slipped out a furtive release on Friday afternoon explaining that it was, in fact, going to do another round of consultation before trying to get the auctions going towards the end of next year.

The plan had been for the final auction details to be published this autumn, with the auction happening early next year, which was already getting tight. The delay comes as no surprise given the strength of feeling around the issues, and the regulator argues that the spectrum won't be available for commercial use until 2013 anyway (the final stages of digital switch-off aren't due until then).

But realistically that's bollocks as an early auction would have enabled companies to plan their network infrastructure, and start raising the money to pay for it too – things they now won't be able to start doing for another 12 months.

Not that the operators will complain; as long as no one else has 4G there's great incentive to push ahead quickly. They'll complain loudly in public that they desperately want 4G, but as the auction doesn't happen then no one (except UK Broadband, sort of) can proceed.

The UK is planning a very complicated auction, selling off the digital divided blocks at 800MHz alongside the 3G-expansion band at 2.6GHz. The process is also hampered by a historical imbalance between the incumbent operators, which some expect the auction rules to redress.

We'll have to wait until the end of the year to see what Ofcom plans now, with parties allowed another two months to respond and a final auction format published in the summer. The auction will then take place at the tail of 2012, with networks able to deploy come 2013.

Meanwhile the USA and Germany both have LTE networks already up and running, handset manufacturers are selling dongles and devices which can take advantage of download speeds topping 20Mb/sec, and the UK's much-heralded lead in mobile communications is slipping through our fingers. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.