Wireless operators in the United Kingdom may soon be allowed to exchange their spectrum resources under a proposal announced on Wednesday by British telecom regulator Ofcom. Following on a government recommendation issued in December, Ofcom is launching a consultative process on spectrum trading in hopes of promoting flexible and more efficient use of spectrum in advance of auctions in 2012 of analog TV channels vacated by British broadcasters as part of that nation’s digital television transition. Rules enabling trading of spectrum in the 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz bands will also enable wireless operator Everything Everywhere to divest some of its 1800 MHz band frequencies in fulfillment of conditions prescribed by competition authorities as part of the company’s formation through the merger of the U.K. wireless units of T-Mobile and Orange. Before any trade of spectrum in the aforementioned bands takes place, operators would be required to seek and obtain the consent of Ofcom, which would assess the competitive impact of the trade and whether the requested trade would result in any market distortions. The consultative process is scheduled to run through March, and Ofcom hopes to bring new rules into effect this summer. Noting that the proposal responds to “the fast pace of change and innovation taking place in the mobile communications sector, which is placing increased demands on spectrum,” Ofcom Chief Ed Richard praised the consultation as “an important milestone in the modernization of spectrum management in the U.K.”