updated 04:50 pm EDT, Tue September 6, 2011
Ofcom: tech complications may push back 4G sale
The largest wireless spectrum auction in the UK may be pushed back to the spring of 2012, according to a Tuesday report. The country's regulator, Ofcom, blamed the delay on many technical and legal issues. The potential delay is at least three months later than originally planned, though Ofcom added it has always said the original timescale was ambitious.
"Ofcom has been explicit in its aim to begin the 4G auction as soon as is practicable and this remains our objective," a spokesperson stated on Tuesday.
Britain is setting out rules about how much 4G spectrum providers can buy in order to protect the country's smallest operator, 3, and to ensure competition. But the delay isn't good news for 3 either, as its larger competitors have spare spectrum they can relocate to high-speed data traffic from basic voice calls. Those other operators are Everything Everywhere, Telefonica's O2, and Vodafone.
The Ofcom spokesperson also added that due to the technical issues that need to be solved, a commercial roll-out of a 4G network in the UK won't be possible until 2013 despite when the auction happens.