updated 03:50 pm EDT, Tue March 22, 2011
Group working to ensure competition among carriers
The UK is reportedly preparing its largest-ever spectrum auction, which will include bands spreading across 250MHz of spectrum no longer utilized by television broadcasters. The wireless regulation authority Ofcom is said to be working to finalize a strategy that will ensure the spectrum is distributed among at least four competing networks.
To further bolster competition in the wireless marketplace, the agency has also considered allowing some of the smaller players to combine their bids against offers from the larger companies.
Local carrier Three UK has reportedly voiced concerns that it may be forced out of the market if it does not get an adequate share of the new spectrum, as it already lacks any spectrum in sub-1GHz bands, according to a report in The Register. To alleviate such issues and maintain at least four primary competitors in the market, Ofcom plans plans to cap spectrum ownership by any single company.
Ofcom is expected to hold the auction sometime before the first half of next year, though it remains unclear if the agency will meet its initial goals.