updated 05:55 pm EDT, Fri October 7, 2011
Delay should not impact 2013 deployment schedule
Ofcom, the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries has delayed its planned auctions of 4G mobile bandwidth until the end of 2012. The authority did so in response to a number of issues raised by potential bidders since the auctions were announced in March. Ofcom believes that the delay won't impact the actual deployment for 4G services.
The auctions were to cover segments of the 800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum, including some frequencies that had been reserved for analog TV. These frequencies have become largely underused as TV broadcasting has switched to digital. Ofcom had initially hoped that the auctions would be held early next year.
Last month, Ofcom indicated that, because of technical and legal concerns raised by carriers, the timing of the planned auctions would be delayed by three months, until the spring of 2012.
Ofcom now believes that it must now hold another round of "consultations" to resolve many of the issues, stating that there were "a number of substantial and strongly argued responses."
The bandwidth won't actually be freed up and available until sometime in 2013 regardless of when the auctions take place in 2012, leading to Ofcom's relaxed attitude towards the timing. [via BBC mobile]