Ofcom announces UK 4G auction bidders: seven networks fight it out for 250MHz of new spectrum

Just ahead of the auction set to start in January 2013, UK regulator Ofcom has confirmed the networks gunning for next-generation spectrum. Alongside familiar names like Telefonica (O2), Vodafone, EE and Hutchison (which powers Three), Niche Spectrum Ventures (a BT subsidiary), HKT and MLL will also be looking to pick up a chunk of 800MHz and 2.6GHz LTE spectrum. That lower frequency band was previously tied up with analog TV signal, which has now been switched off, and is well placed for wide-spread mobile internet in rural areas, while the 2.6GHz band should offer better capacity for faster data speeds. The auction will add a substantial 250MHz of extra spectrum, on top of the 333MHz used by mobile networks today. If we'll be able to stream BBC iPlayer anywhere in the country, it might be worth the wait.