More 4G auctions set for 2015, says Ofcom

On The Phone

Telecoms regulator Ofcom has today announced that they will auction off more 4G spectrum.

Earlier this week we saw OpenSignal's report stating that the average speed of 4G across the UK had halved over the last year due to user congestion. Now Ofcom has decided they are going to do something about this growing demand for 4G by selling off more of its spectrum.

The new spectrums on offer will be 2.3 gigahertz and 3.4 gigahertz bands, which are currently being used by he Ministry of Defence (MoD). Ofcom hope the auction will take place sometime late next year, but early 2016 also being suggested as possible auction date.

What does this all mean? Well essentially it gives mobile network providers like EE, Vodafone and O2 the opportunity to dramatically expand their 4G coverage in the UK.

Each of the two spectrums on offer are used for different things; the 2.3 gigahertz band will be of much more interest to mobile network providers as that is the one that offers 4G data to all the latest smartphones. The 3.4 gigahertz on the other hand is used by wireless home broadband providers like Relish, who offer fibre-optic like speeds for your home using 4G data.

In order to encourage fair competition Ofcom has stated that they are limiting the amount of spectrum operators can own to 37%. This will be good news to the likes of O2 and Three, who are currently lagging behind EE and Vodafone in the UK's 4G coverage maps.

Ofcom's Spectrum Group Director Philip Marnick said on the auction: "Today marks an important step in ensuring that the UK has sufficient spectrum to support our wireless economy.

"It comes in response to the fast pace of change and innovation taking place in the communications sector, which is placing increased demands on how spectrum is used by all industries.

"One important way of meeting this demand is making new spectrum available and its use as flexible as possible."