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800 MHz spectrum auction expected mid-2011
Wednesday 14 July 2010 13:34:21 by John Hunt

Later this month Ofcom are expected to announce plans to sell off spectrum which can be used for mobile Internet access, with the auction expected to take place mid 2011 according to Orange's Director of Spectrum Strategy. The precious spectrum up for grabs is the 800 and 2600 MHz frequency bands which will allow providers valuable extra bandwidth to offer services such as LTE and WiMAX. The '800MHz band' is the most attractive, and covers 790-862 MHz which is currently used for fixed broadcast including some digital terrestrial television (DTT) and performance making & special events (PMSE) uses. The plan is to free up this band to align with European plans to make this available pan-Europe for new mobile broadband services with an expected UK benefit in the region of £2 - £3 billion.

Radio spectrum is a highly debated issue and has caused somewhat of a ruckus before. Both Vodafone and O2 currently hold bandwidth in the 900 MHz band used for GSM services whilst the other UK operators only hold frequency in the higher 1800 MHz frequency for this purpose. The lower the frequency, the further a radio signal can travel, and the easier it is to penetrate into buildings, thus mobile networks are very interested in getting access to lower frequencies. Before the merger of Orange and T-Mobile was announced (they had to agree to give up 25% of their spectrum due to the merger), the government stepped in over the 900 MHz battle that was occurring to try and sort out a fair re-allocation. With the 800 MHz band being made available and a proposed repurpose of the 900 MHz band to allow it to be used for faster 3G and 4G services, all parties could become satisfied with the outcome.


Posted by cyberdoyle over 6 years ago
Let us hope the money made from this goes into the digitalbritain pot for NGA and not into the bottomless welfare system or bankers pot. The last sale proceeds disappeared down a black hole somewhere...
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
This is all taking waaaaaaaaaaay too long.

Another YEAR?

Posted by kasg over 6 years ago
It can't happen any quicker. The 800MHz band is still used for TV - not just DTT but analogue as well. Frequencies cannot be cleared before completion of DSO in late 2012.
Posted by CaptainHulaHoop over 6 years ago
for once, and i can't believe i am saying this, but i actually agree with cyberdoyle.

lets hope its not like the billions raised for 3g licenses that vanished and instead goes to help final third subsidies
Posted by timmay over 6 years ago
This will be too late. I still want to get an iPhone. Was put off by 1st gen lack of 3G, put off by 3G and 3GS due to lack of coverage, rural/in-building. Now we'll have the iPhone 5 before the networks have even started to deploy 3G(LTE) at 'good' frequencies. Add to that Apple still need to fix the antenna!
Posted by timmay over 6 years ago
Oh I forgot the iPhone 4 doesn't even support LTE. Although if LTE at 850Mhz is HSPA backward compatible that doesn't matter too much because that would work.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago

The governments already shown it can do what it wants when it wants, this is no exception.

It could fix all this tomorrow if it wanted.

Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
^^^ Dont be stupid, the frequencies are used by analogue systems currently, systems others have paid for rights to use until a certain date. You cant just switch it off over night, to suggest that is just pure dumb.
Posted by ETEE over 6 years ago
Because this was so last minute, the 800MHz band spectrum will not all be able to be used at the end of DSO in 2012. Some Freeview transmitters will need to be refitted again including those on UHF 61 and 62 like Winter Hill. Orders for replacement equipment like combiners and antennas have to be placed years in advance. This means that the spectrum cannot be used for mobile broadband until 2013 at the earliest.
Posted by chrysalis over 6 years ago
the government has a defecit so I wouldnt be surprised if it went towards that, however this will be a blip compared to it so they may well allocate it to telecom related stuff.
Posted by jamesvincent over 6 years ago
o2 and vodafone should be allowed to keep all of the 900mhz, as it's been said this is what they want to do. Why do the UK have to do everything that Europe says? Thats just crazy. yes this means they cant buy any 800mhz. Only 2100mhz. But Isn't it best to stick with what you know sometimes. They have plenty of space to add 3G/HSDPA, & in future 4G Lte.
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