UK REGULATOR Ofcom today announced its final plans for the upcoming 4G rollout, which is expected to kick off next May.
Although we've already got LTE in the UK courtesy of EE, Ofcom has announced that the remaining mobile operators - namely O2 and Vodafone - will get their chance to bid for 4G spectrum on the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands on 11 December.
Revealing its timeframe for the 4G rollout, Ofcom said that it will determine which firms can go on to bid in the auction later in December, before bidding starts in January 2013. Bidders will be informed of what spectrum they have won in February or March, with new 4G services tipped to start rolling out in May or June.
While we've been hoping that future 4G networks will be cheaper than EE's steep LTE pricing, it's not looking all that likely. According to Ofcom, the combined total cost for the spectrum being auctioned is an estimated £1.3bn.
Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said, "Today marks an important shift from preparation to the delivery of the auction, which will see widespread 4G mobile services from a range of providers.
"The entire industry is now focused on the auction itself, with a shared goal of delivering new and improved mobile services for consumers."
While this is good news for those after more choice when it comes to 4G, not everybody is all that chuffed. MP John Whittingdale has moaned that the 4G launch should be delayed due to the impact it will have on customers' television signal, the Daily Mail reports.
According to Whittingdale, millions of homes, especially those who live close to 4G base stations, will suffer from interference, be it image distortion or a total lack of service, which could cost up to £10,000 per household to fix. µ