UK spectrum auction delayed

UK communications regulator Ofcom has delayed the upcoming auction of additional spectrum in the 3G expansion band after intense lobbying from mobile operators. Speculation is rife that the that the so called UMTS Extension band might be opened up to other technologies, following the publication of a consultation paper on a possible major spectrum auction in December. It is known that Ofcom and the UK Government are in favour of technology neutrality.The 2GHz, 2.3GHz and 2.5-6GHz bands are all being considered but the most significant is the 2.5-2.69GHz spectrum, where 160 out of a total 215MHz on offer is to be found. Such an auction could fire the starting gun for WiMAX in the UK, but many in the mobile industry have pressed for further consultation, pushing the anticipated auction back to very late 2008 from later this year.Incumbent telco BT is expected to be one of the most enthusiastic bidders for the spectrum. The company issued an RFI (Request for Information) to potential WiMAX suppliers earlier this month.


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