Ofcom plans L-band spectrum auctions for spring 2008

Mobile TV is among the services that could use the spectrum.

UK communications regulatory agency Ofcom has finalized details for its plans to auction radio spectrum suitable for a range of services, including mobile TV. It expects to begin the auctions in spring 2008 through an online process.

The agency has identified a number of possible uses for the spectrum range to be auctioned — the 1452MHz–1492 MHz L-band. In addition to using it for mobile TV, successful bidders could employ it for satellite digital radio, broadband wireless access or high-speed mobile Internet.

Ofcom says it will release the spectrum on a technology- and service-neutral basis, letting users decide what technology to use, what services to offer and allowing them to change their use of the spectrum over time. All licenses will be tradable.

The auctions are part of a wider program to release about 400MHz of spectrum at prime frequencies below 3GHz. Other awards in the program include the so-called digital dividend — the valuable spectrum that will be freed through the switchover to digital television.

Starting in January, the agency will be holding a series of meetings across the UK to solicit the public’s opinion on the use of the spectrum, as well as other items on the agenda for the next two years.

For more information, visit www.ofcom.org.uk.