Telecoms regulator Ofcom has announced the names of the companies bidding for the UK’s 4G spectrum which will allow networks to offer super-fast mobile broadband.
The bidders include Everything Everywhere, owners of T-Mobile and Orange who are already offering 4G services, O2 owners Telefónica and Vodafone.
Also bidding are BT subsidiary Niche Spectrum Ventures Limited and Hutchison 3G UK Limited, owners of Three.
Bidders will be competing for 28 lots of spectrum in two separate bands – 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz. The lower frequency 800 MHz band is part of the ‘digital dividend’ freed up when analogue terrestrial TV was switched off, which is ideal for widespread mobile coverage.
The higher frequency 2.6 GHz band is ideal for delivering the capacity needed for faster speeds. These two bands add up to 250 MHz of additional mobile spectrum, compared to 333 MHz in use today.
Ed Richards, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: “Today’s 4G auction is a very significant milestone for the UK’s communications sector.
“It will release the essential raw material for the next wave of mobile digital services. This will change the way we consume digital media in both our personal and working lives and deliver significant benefits to millions of consumers and businesses across the country.”
The full list of bidders is:
Everything Everywhere Limited
HKT (UK) Company Limited (a subsidiary of PCCW Limited)
Hutchison 3G UK Limited
MLL Telecom Ltd
Niche Spectrum Ventures Limited (a subsidiary of BT Group plc)
Telefónica UK Limited
The new spectrum will almost double the amount of airwaves currently available for mobile broadband services on smartphones, tablets and laptops.
Successful bidders will be announced in February or March with services expected to go live by June.