Ofcom has today announced the bidders who will be taking part in the 4G mobile spectrum auctions which will start in January 2013. Seven bidders have expressed an interest in acquiring spectrum to enable them to roll out faster mobile broadband services in the UK using LTE or WiMAX technology. In total, 250 MHz of mobile spectrum is being auctioned - a huge proportion of additional capacity considering that 333 MHz is in use today.
As the auctions are for spectrum in both the 800MHz and 2.6GHz frequency bands not all seven bidders will be fighting over the same spectrum. The main mobile operators (EE, O2, Three and Vodafone) will be looking to acquire spectrum in the 800MHz band whilst the other bidders may be looking to use the 2.6GHz band. Should all spectrum be sold at the reserve price, Ofcom should net £1.3 billion, but this is likely to run higher with estimates of £4-£6 billion being touted.
Bidders have until January 4th to withdraw from the auction if they wish, but they would lose their £100,000 deposit.