Ofcom sets LTE timetable for UK

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Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards has unveiled an “ambitious” timetable for auction and implementation of 800Mhz and 2.6Ghz spectrum by 2014

Speaking at the Financial Times World Telecoms Conference, Richards (pictured) said while it could be challenging to stick to the timetable it was important to make it work due to the significance of the spectrum to the UK economy.

Richards said he expected Parliament to consider the draft legislation regarding the spectrum release within the “next week or so”, paving the way for creation of new UK LTE networks through a series of steps.

Ofcom will aim to publish a consultation on its assessment of likely future mobile competition and detailed proposals for the auction, including any measures it proposes to take to ensure effective competition by the end of February. The consultation will end in May.

Richards said a statement on future competition and details of the combined auction, together with draft auction regulations, will then be released in the early Autumn of 2011 and final auction regulations should be in place by the end of 2011.

Bidding will commence in early in 2012, shortly after bidders applications are received and eligibility checks carried out. Richards said depending on how long bidding lasts results should be known by mid-2012, and issued shortly after.

Spectrum will be available by the beginning of 2013 and the release process completed by the end of the year. UK LTE networks will be running in early 2014.

An O2 spokesperson said: “We welcome the clarity provided on the timetable, as it allows us to plan our investments and preparations for the auction process itself.”

Vodafone and Everything Everywhere refused to comment at press.

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