Ofcom unveils plans to auction new 2.3 GHz and 3.4 GHz spectrum

UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has announced plans to auction spectrum currently being used by the Ministry of Defence in the 2.3 GHz and 3.4 GHz bands.

Today’s statement marked the commencement of a public consultation on how best to proceed with the auction and how much of the 190 MHz of total spectrum to make available initially, only 40 MHz of which is in the 2.3 GHz band. Ofcom seems to think holding back 60 MHz would be the best way to ensure “optimum use of spectrum”.

Having announced the public consultation, Ofcom went on to lay out a number of decisions it has already made. These include the use of a single, multi-round ascending format (as opposed to combinatorial clock auction), and the splitting of the 2.3 GHz spectrum into 10 MHz lots and the 3.4 GHz spectrum into 5 MHz lots.

Since these higher frequency spectrum are better suited to boosting capacity rather than coverage there will be no coverage obligations attached to any of the lots. The consultation will close on 26 June and some or all of the spectrum could be made available this year if that’s what the consultation concludes.

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