UK TELECOMS REGULATOR Ofcom has revealed that the auction of 4G spectrum will take place by the end of the year, with 4G internet wireless set to roll-out in late 2013.
In its latest report, Ofcom said the 4G spectrum sale will take place towards the end of 2012, with the bidding process set to be complete by early 2013. The new spectrum sits in the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands and should allow speeds potentially as high as 150Mbit/s when accessing the internet on the move.
The regulator added that the auction will be 80 per cent larger than the £22bn 3G auction that took place back in 2000.
Ofcom has also revealed that, to ensure UK consumers benefit from a competitive market, it will reserve some of the available spectrum for a "fourth national wholesaler" other than the three largest mobile operators - O2, Everything Everywhere and Vodafone.
The regulator added that this wholesaler could be Hutchinson 3G or a new entrant altogether, such as Virgin Media.
Winners of spectrum will also face obligations to ensure that 98 per cent of those living in the remotest regions of the UK are able to access the internet with solid connections, as part of the government's desire to provide coverage for all by 2015.
Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards talked-up the benefits of fourt-generation mobile internet speeds, saying, "The 4G auction has been designed to deliver the maximum possible benefit to consumers and citizens across the UK.
"As a direct result of the measures Ofcom is introducing, consumers will be able to surf the web, stream videos and download email attachments on their mobile device from almost every home in the UK." µ