UK Ofcom publishes consultation on planned 4G spectrum auction

On 22 March, Ofcom, the UK’s telecommunications regulator, published its proposals for an award process to allocate radio spectrum in the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands. Ofcom proposes to use a combinatorial clock auction (CCA) format for this award. This is the same format that Ofcom used in the 10-40GHz and L-band auctions and that was intended for the previously planned 2.6GHz spectrum award. DotEcon has advised Ofcom on the design for this auction, and has been contracted to develop auction software for a pilot study of the auction design.

A distinct feature of the proposed design is the imposition of spectrum floors in addition to spectrum caps. These spectrum floors impose a constraint on the auction outcome so that after the auction at least four bidders will have the minimum spectrum considered to be necessary for a national wholesale operator to be able to compete effectively in the downstream market. These minimum spectrum requirements are defined flexibly across frequency bands above and below 1GHz, and so support different mixes of high and low frequency spectrum.

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