We’ve had delays, more delays, and claims from networks that the entire process is “illegal”.
But there finally appears to be light at the end of the tunnel, as Ofcom has announced that the “largest ever auction of spectrum for mobile services in the UK” will “get under way” by the end of the year. Huzzah!
However, while auction rules will be ironed out and formal applications received in late 2012, Ofcom doesn’t expect the actual bidding side of things to commence until 2013.
A post on the Ofcom site explains: “The plans should see mobile broadband rolled out to at least 98% of people in villages, towns and cities across the UK.
“This will be achieved through 4G, the fourth generation of mobile technology, which will deliver much faster mobile data speeds to phones and other wireless devices than presently possible.”
Ofcom reveals it will reserve some spectrum for a “fourth national wholesaler”. Who are the other three? O2, Vodafone, and Everything Everywhere (Orange and T-Mobile). The fourth “could be Hutchison 3G or a new entrant altogether”.
We’re told that mobile operators will start rolling out 4G networks in the “middle of 2013”, with services becoming available to consumers “later that year”. So, still over a year to go, then. Sigh.