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4G auction to happen within a year?

Government to make auction a priority

The auction for the 800MHz and 2.6GHz radio spectrum that will allow mobile networks to offer 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) services, could take place within a year, according to the government.

Ed Vaizey, Under Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said "getting the issue sorted is an absolute priority for us, and we hope to make an announcement before the summer recess" in a parliamentary response.

If the government gives the auction the go-ahead, before Parliament breaks up for summer on July 29, then Ofcom can begin setting out guidelines to ensure all operators are treated equally and the auction does not harm competition in the market.

"There'll be a few regulatory issues to work out at Ofcom before the auction could take place, and we'd expect that to take about nine months to a year," a BIS spokesperson told PC Pro, referring to whether mobile networks will consider using the 900MHz and 1,800MHz bands originally used for 2G to offer 3G, which is currently only allowed to operate on the 2.1GHz band.

"So the auction could start in about a year."

It is thought Ofcom initially wanted the auction to take place during the first six months of 2011 but the process was delayed by the election and subsequent change of government.

See also: Ofcom plans UK WiMax spectrum auction

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