UK 4G Delayed – Ofcom Pulls Plug After Arguments

You know how we were all looking forward to getting 4G phone networks in the UK next year? The wait may be a little longer now.

If you recall, Ofcom was going to be selling off a couple of frequency bands at the end of the year – well it seems that they’re putting that on hold for the time being.

The bands being sold – the 800MHz and 2.6GHz frequencies – include parts of the spectrum historically used by analogue TV. This will become free when the big digital switch over hits the country as a whole.

The auction would sell off a huge chunk of available spectrum, equivalent to three quarters of the mobile spectrum in use today.

However, Ofcom said the strength of the responses to the initial consultation had persuaded it to delay the auction.

“We received a number of substantial and strongly argued responses to this consultation,” said Ofcom in a statement.

Those responses seem to have made Ofcom’s mind up that they should run a further round of consultation as any decision it makes will “likely to shape the future of the mobile sector in the UK for the next decade or more”.

The new plan is to start the sale at the end of next year, 2012, but they say that this delay may not actually that large an impact on the date when 4G services become available as the spectrum to support them will not be free until 2013 anyway.

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