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UK communications regulator Ofcom has finalised details for its auction of 190MHz worth of high-capacity spectrum in the 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz bands, which will be held in early 2016.

Most of the spectrum up for grabs, which can be used for 4G as well as fixed wireless broadband services, was formerly used by the Ministry of Defence and will be sold without any specific coverage obligation.

A further 40MHz of spectrum in the 3.4GHz band is already held by UK Broadband Ltd and UKB Networks Ltd, with Ofcom suggesting that either of the concurrent licensees may apply for a replacement licence.

The regulator has already confirmed there are no plans to impose any spectrum caps on the auction, which could see the larger players buying out smaller suppliers.

Ofcom has also moved to stop prices getting too low, setting a reserve price on portions of the spectrum, ensuring it raises £70 million from the bidding.

Reports suggest a 10MHz slice of the 2.3GHz will fetch £10 million and £1 million for a 5MHz section of the 3.4GHz frequency.

Philip Marnick, Ofcom’s Spectrum Group Director, said: “Spectrum is the essential resource which fuels the UK’s wireless economy. This auction is an important step in ensuring that the UK has the wireless capability to deliver and support new technology.

"We’re responding to rapid change and innovation in the communications sector, which is placing greater demands on spectrum. Part of our plan to meet this demand is by making new spectrum available and allowing it to be used in a number of different ways.”

Networks will be invited to put forward applications from early December ahead of the auctions early next year.

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