The UK’s major mobile operator groups Everything Everywhere (EE), Telefonica (O2), Hutchison 3G (Three) and Vodafone have been confirmed as bidders as they seek to meet the growing demand for mobile data among consumers.
These major operators will also be joined in the auction, scheduled to take place in January 2013 by BT Group subsidiary Niche Spectrum Ventures, HKT Company, a subsidiary of PCCW or Hong Kong Telecom and MLL Telecom.
The auction is set to increase the amount of mobile airwaves by over 75 per cent from existing levels, a legacy of the analogue TV switch off, with Ofcom intending to make 4G mobile broadband services more widely available across the UK as part of the process.
In a statement issued earlier this morning, Ofcom says the completion of the auction would help facilitate mobile internet speeds comparable to existing home broadband speeds making services such as streaming high-quality video and live TV more feasible on mobile devices.
The UK’s largest operator Everything Everywhere launched its EE brand in October this year, in addition to its existing Orange and T-Mobile brands, as it debuted 4G mobile services in the UK, after Ofcom permitted it to use its existing spectrum allocation to launch the services.
The operator’s 4G service was initially set to launch in 16 cities across the UK by the close of 2012 with efforts to promote it among consumers fronted by Hollywood actor Kevin Bacon with a campaign entitled “six degrees of Bacon” highlighting how everything can be connected, see below.