Ofcom has announced that it will undertake a further consultation relating to its proposals for the award of the 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz spectrum. On October 7, the regulator announced that the award will cover 80% more spectrum than was awarded in the 3G auctions and will allow mobile network operators to provide next generation 4G (LTE and WiMAX) mobile broadband services.
Subsequent to our blog post earlier this year, Ofcom has reviewed the responses it received to its original consultation. In light of the "substantial" and "strongly argued" responses and the significance of the decisions it has to make, Ofcom has decided to publish an additional consultation document at the end of this year.
The new consultation document will outline revisions to the original proposals and stakeholders will then have at least 8 weeks to submit further responses. Over 60 responses were submitted by stakeholders during the initial consultation (all of which can be found here) and many of these will no doubt take this further opportunity to raise their comments or concerns on the revised plans.
As Ofcom's final decision will now not be expected until summer 2012, the original timetable for the auction process has been pushed back, with the auctions not expected to take place until the end of 2012 at the earliest. Ofcom is however confident that this change will not significantly affect the availability of new mobile broadband services to UK customers as the spectrum would not be available until 2013 in any event.