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Ofcom is to consult on plans to release new airwaves which could help meet the growing demand for mobile broadband.

As the number of people using dongles, tablets and smartphones continues to increase, the media regulator is overseeing the auction of spectrum in the 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz bands.

It is asking potential bidders for their views on how these frequencies will be licenced and the mechanics of the sale.

No specific uses for the 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz have been prescribed, but the spectrum could be used for 3G, 4G and eventually 5G mobile broadband.

Ofcom said its objective is to award the frequencies in a way that will allow consumers to enjoy greater access to high-capacity mobile internet without undue delay.

"Today’s consultation invites potential bidders to comment on an option where Ofcom would award most of the newly available spectrum later this year, or early in 2016," the regulator explained.

"The remaining frequencies would be held back for award at a later date."

Ofcom added that this approach may be preferable to the alternatives of either awarding all of the spectrum, or delaying the award. However, it said that both those options remain open.

The regulator said it will determine later in 2015 the best approach to making 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz spectrum available, in light of stakeholder responses and the condition of the market.

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