Ofcom announces plans for £70 million spectrum auction in 2016

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Spectrum has been freed up by Ministry of Defence and regulator says there will be no cap on amount of spectrum bidders can buy

Ofcom has shared details of its plan to release bands of 2.3 GHz and 3..4 GHz at an auction next year – including allowing bidders to buy as much spectrum as they can afford.

The regulator will release 190 MHz of the two spectrum bands in a £70 million-plus auction after it was freed up by the Ministry of Defence as part of a wider Government initiative to free up public sector spectrum.

Ofcom said there will be now cap on the amounts bidders can buy, in order to encourage interested parties to buy blocks of adjacent spectrum, which it claims “helps pave the way for 5G.”

It has placed a minimum reserve of £70 million for the spectrum auction, which will be held early next year.

Ofcom spectrum group director Philip Marnick said: “Spectrum is the essential resource which fuels the UK’s wireless economy. This auction is an important step in ensuring that the UK has the wireless capability to deliver and support new technology.

“We’re responding to rapid change and innovation in the communications sector, which is placing greater demands on spectrum. Part of our plan to meet this demand is by making new spectrum available and allowing it to be used in a number of different ways.”

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