4G auction begins in earnest as bids submitted to Ofcom

Ofcom has officially launched applications for the long-awaited 4G super-fast mobile broadband spectrum auction, with bidders invited to register from 10:00 GMT this morning (December 11th 2012).

Prospective buyers of the spectrum had until 16:00 to register and pay an initial deposit of £100,000. Ofcom will review all applications to check that the organisations are qualified to take part in the auction, which is the largest ever sale of mobile spectrum in the UK.

The review process will feature a range of checks, covering everything from the accuracy of information submitted to making sure there is no overlap between applications, as this could potentially distort the auction.

Successful applicants are due to be announced either before the end of 2012 or early in the new year, with bidding then set to commence in January. This is likely to take place over several weeks before the results of the sell-off are known.

Super-fast mobile broadband services are then expected to be available to consumers from multiple providers later in the year. At present, EE is the only network operator to offer a 4G mobile service.

“The 4G auction will release crucial capacity to support future growth,” commented Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards.

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