UK Carriers to Repurpose 2G/3G Spectrum for 4G Service

Last year, UK telecoms watchdog Ofcom gave Everything Everywhere the go ahead to repurpose some of its existing 3G spectrum for 4G service. The decision was criticized by EE's competitors who said it would give the carrier an unfair head start in the 4G market. After all, the other carriers were waiting to buy additional spectrum for 4G service via an Ofcom auction. However, while that auction is ongoing, it seems Ofcom may give the green light for additional 2G and 3G spectrum to be repurposed for 4G service.

According to TechRadar, both Three UK and Vodafone want to repurpose some of their existing specrum for 4G service. A public consultation on the companies' proposals is underway and will be open until March. After that Ofcom will announce whether or not it is approving their proposals. Though a decision is not expected before then, Ofcom hinted on Friday that it is in favor of the idea.

"This will meet a long-standing objective to liberalize all mobile licenses so that there are no regulatory barriers to the deployment of the latest available mobile technology," TechRadar cites Ofcom as saying in a stamtent on Friday.

If that weren't clue enough, there's also the fact that Ofcom already approved EE's proposal on the same subject last year. It's unlikely the watchdog would approve EE's proposal only to turn down similar proposals from competing carriers.

Ofcom kicked off its 4G auction almost a fortnight ago. There's a total of seven bidders taking part. This includes Everything Everywhere, which got its 4G network up and running in October of 2012. EE aside, the other six bidders are HKT, Hutchison 3G, MLL Telecom, Niche Spectrum Ventures (a subsidiary of BT), Telefonica UK (O2), and Vodafone. This being the modern age, the bidding is being done online. Ofcom says bidders are using special software produced specifically for the auction.

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