LONDON (WiMAX Day). The UK regulator Ofcom announced today that it intends to proceed with the auction of 2010-2025 MHz and 2500-2690 MHz frequency bands, intended for WiMAX and 3G services. A total of 205 MHz will be available at auction on a technology and service neutral basis. Ofcom said in a press statement today that it expects to begin the auction process this summer.
In an Information Memorandum published today, Ofcom said that in the 2.6 GHz frequency band it will release 38 blocks of 2×5 MHz. There will be a maximum of 14 Paired Lots (14×2x5 MHz with uplink in 2500-2570 MHz and downlink in 2620-2690 MHz) and a minimum of 9 Unpaired Lots (9×5 MHz in 2570-2615 MHz). The paired lots will have an initial first round bid price of £ 100,000 Sterling, and the unpaired lots will have an initial first round bid price of £ 50,000 Sterling.
The 2010 MHz Band will be auctioned as a single 15 MHz lot.
Each license will be offered for an indefinite duration, however each will have an initial term of 20 years. The rights and obligations attached to each license will be fully tradable.
The 2.6 GHz auction will take the form of a “combinatorial clock auction,” where the first stage will allow bidders to bid on the amount of spectrum desired, but for unspecified frequencies. At the end of this stage, bidders can make multiple exclusive bids for their chosen packages, and winning bidders will be selected therein.
The winning bidders will then advance to a second stage where bidders can specify preferences for frequencies during a single round sealed bid process. Winning bids will be determined by those who submit the bids with the highest total value.
Ofcom noted in the Information Memorandum that the auction will be made in accordance with the ECC directive “ECC/DEC/(02)06 (November 2002) which designates the 2.6 GHz Band to UMTS/IMT-2000 and the 2520 to 2670 MHz portion to terrestrial UMTS/IMT-2000. According to the Decision, the 2500 to 2690 MHz band should be made available for use by UMTS/IMT-2000 systems by 1 January 2008, subject to market demand and national licensing schemes.”
WiMAX was included in the IMT-2000 family at a meeting of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in October 2007.