Ofcom has announced that the auction for the UK's 4G spectrum will take place in 2012, allowing operators to snap up some of the much sought-after highspeed network.
The bands on offer will be the 800MHz block suitable for boosting current broadband speeds and increasing coverage (to up to 95% of the population, according to Ofcom) and the 2.6GHz block which is ready to offer the 4G speeds we've all been waiting for.
In order to keep competition balanced among the four major mobile operators, Ofcom will be imposing caps on the amount of spectrum any one provider can purchase. If all goes to plan, the end result will be that your network provider - whoever it may be - will soon be able to provide you with wider coverage and blisteringly fast download speeds.
Once considered on the cutting edge of network technologies as one of the first countries to auction off its 3G spectrum in 2000, the UK now lags behind the rest of the world in adopting 4G. Whilst the US auctioned off spectrum bands for 4G in early 2008, and has since been enjoying mobile data speeds that we Brits can only dream of, with theoretical peak speeds for 4G reaching 100Mbps, other countries that have taken the leap before us include Latvia, Estonia and Uzbekistan – not exactly a who’s who of the world’s tech superpowers.
So what has taken so long here in Blighty? And why do we still have to wait another year before our networks can even get their hands on some of the sought after spectrum? Ofcom points to the “Digital Switchover” from analogue to digital TV which will finally free up some of the spectrum due to be sold.
Have current speeds and 18 month contracts kept you in the dark ages while you wait for 4G, or has 3G been enough for you?