MoD Spectrum To Be Sold Off For 4G By 2014

The Ministry of Defence becomes first government department to sell off spectrum for 4G

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has outlined plans to auction off some of its radio spectrum by 2014 for services including 4G, becoming the first government department to do so.

The MoD says that 200 MHz of its spectrum usage rights will be up for grabs, all below 15GHz, which is regarded as the most useful and valuable part of the radio spectrum because of the wide range of applications it can be used for. The auction will start at the end of next year and will be completed by the middle of 2014. Prior to the auction, the MoD will produce a brochure and host an industry day early next summer.

MoD spectrum for 4G

4G, Mobile, Smartphone © Digital Storm Shutterstock 2012Almost half of all bandwidth below 15GHz is held by the public sector and is used for services such as defence, emergency services and transport. The government’s 2010 spending revenue stated that 500MHz of the public spectrum below 5GHz should be released by 2020 for other uses.

The MoD currently holds around three quarters of all publicly held spectrum and one third of the spectrum below 15 GHz. It lent some of its bandwidth to Ofcom during the 2012 Olympic Games in London in order to cope with the exceptional demand.

“We welcome this opportunity to free up much-needed spectrum,” said Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Philip Dunne. “We hope that the sale will help drive the roll-out of new generation networks and universal access to broadband, both of which are vital to the UK’s prosperity.”

The long awaited auction of 4G spectrum began last week after Ofcom began welcoming applications to participate in the largest ever sale of its type in the UK. Up to 250MHz of additional spectrum in the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands is up for grabs, compared to the 333MHz already in use. Until the auction is complete, the only operator with 4G services is EE.

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