UK to auction mobile spectrum at the end of 2011

The UK Government on Wednesday gave the go-ahead for a mobile spectrum auction that will pave way for new mobile broadband services and improved mobile coverage.

Communications Minister Ed Vaizey asked communications regulator Ofcom to co-ordinate a combined auction 800 MHz and 2600 MHz spectrum at the earliest possible to improve the speed of the Internet broadband across the country.

Speaking on the topic, Vaizey said, “Under our plans, our mobile industry will have access to the 21st Century infrastructure it needs to give UK consumers the latest technologies and even better coverage for broadband on their mobile phones.”

Ofcoms said that it had plans to hold the auction at the end of the next year, which means that new mobile broadband services could begin in early 2012. Earlier, it was expected that the auction would be held sometime in the first half of the next year.

Mobile phone operator 02 has welcomed the announcement about the auction.

Communications Minister also said that Ofcom would conduct an assessment of future 3G and 4G markets, and the government would liberalize 2G spectrum at 900MHz and 1800MHz to meet a European Union directive to let operators to use these fequencies for 3G technologies.

However, no comments were made over how much the auction could raise.