Ofcom delays UK LTE spectrum auction to "early 2013"

LTE continues to expand throughout the United States and in many countries around the world, but the UK is still waiting on Ofcom to give the go-ahead on the necessary spectrum auction to support the technology. The communications watchdog has this morning announced that the spectrum bidding will be pushed back slightly, from the end of this year to "early 2013." The delay in the spectrum auction ultimately means consumers will be waiting even longer for LTE to hit the UK.

Ofcom says that carriers can begin submitting their applications, but the actual spectrum auction won't take place until early next year. UK carriers will be bidding on two bands, 800Mhz and 2.6Ghz, although Everything Everywhere is hoping to leverage its existing 1800Mhz spectrum and push out a limited LTE service before the end of the year. Still, spectrum is a limited resource, and Everything Everywhere's 1800Mhz band isn't the most desirable for a wide spread and speedy service.

In addition, Ofcom says that a set of spectrum will be set aside for a fourth wholesaler or carrier to prevent the big three in the UK from dominating the market. The organization briefly mentions Hutchinson 3G, who have been vocal in the past regarding Ofcom's plans. Once everything is auctioned off, carriers will be held to an obligation that means any mobile broadband offered on the 800Mhz band should be available to 98% of the UK by 2017, with the crucial point being that reception is available indoors. The 800Mhz band is best suited for that purpose, while the 2.6Ghz band will open up faster speeds.

[via The Next Web]