UK watchdog Ofcom has revealed plans to distribute new licences for WiMAX and 3G cellular mobile services in the country’s single largest auction of radio spectrum. The regulator has published a consultation document outlining its proposals for the distribution of unused or under-used spectrum to the telecoms market and invited comments by 9 March 2007. It plans to offer a total of 215MHz of spectrum in the 2500MHz-2690MHz, 2010MHz-2025MHz and 2290MHz-2300MHz bands, as part of a wider programme to release around 400MHz of spectrum over the next few years. The frequencies will be offered on a technology and service neutral basis with an initial licence term of 20 years. All three bands are to be awarded ‘as soon as practicable’, with the 2010MHz and 2290MHz frequencies to be awarded as part of the same auction, and the 2290MHz band separately. Analysts predict the sale will raise about a tenth of the GBP23 billion (USD45 billion) gained from the auction of the UK’s first batch of 3G spectrum, in the 2100MHz band, in 2000.
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