On 24 July 2012, Ofcom published a statement and draft auction regulations following a series of consultations on this issue. The statement sets out Ofcom’s decisions for the auction of wireless telegraphy licences for the use of 790 MHz to 862 MHz spectrum (800 MHz band) and 2500 MHz to 2690 MHz spectrum (2.6 GHz band).

The statement contains Ofcom’s assessment of likely future competition in markets for the provision of mobile electronic communication services after the conclusion of the auction of the 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz bands. It outlines the measures that will be taken to promote competition following the auction, including auction rules. These measures are designed to ensure that there are four credible national wholesalers, each with access to sufficient spectrum to compete. Spectrum will be reserved for a bidder other than Everything Everywhere, Telefónica and Vodafone. In the statement, Ofcom identify the reserve prices for each lot of spectrum to be auctioned. Coverage obligations will be contained in one of the 800 MHz licences, intended to promote the widespread availability of next generation mobile broadband services. Ofcom’s decision also sets out the technical and non-technical licence conditions, which include a set of conditions designed to ensure that mobile use of the 800 MHz band can co-exist with neighbouring digital terrestrial television use.

Ofcom are planning to hold a number of events that will allow interested parties to familiarise themselves with the auction design and procedures. These are likely to include a seminar to explain the auction rules. Ofcom will also hold mock auctions for those interested in taking part in the auction.

On 2 October 2012, Ofcom announced that the auction process is on schedule; bidding for licences is expected to begin in early 2013.

For more information please go to: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/consultations/award- 800mhz/statement/statement.pdf