The UK Treasury hopes to raise as much as 3.5 billion GBP from the auction of 4G spectrum licenses early next year, chancellor George Osborne said in his autumn budget statement.
British telecom regulator Ofcom put a 1.3 billion GBP reserve price on the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands last month, adding that companies wanting to bid for spectrum will be able to submit applications and an initial deposit from December 11th. Bidding will begin in January with licenses due to be granted in February and March.
The country’s number-one operator EE (Everything Everywhere) recently launched its 4G LTE network after Ofcom allowed it to repurpose spectrum it already held. EE plans to serve 16 cities with LTE by Christmas and has recently announced increases to data included in its 4G price plans, suggesting that the original pricing strategy has seen limited uptake.
Other operators — including Three, Vodafone and O2 — are set to follow and launch their own LTE networks from spring 2013.