The UK is paving the way for 5G, with Ofcom confirming plans to auction the 2.3 and 3.4 GHz spectrums next year, telecoms.com reports.
The UK telecoms regulator outlined how it will prioritise the most spectrum-efficient bidders and won't get in the way of operators that create economies of scale by buying up large adjacent blocks of spectrum. This could potentially lead to a bidding war, it acknowledged.
The early part of 2016 will see a total of 190 MHz of high-capacity spectrum become available in two bands, 2.3 GHz and 3.4 GHz, which are designed to carry large amounts of data.
To put the auction into perspective, this represents the biggest advance in mobile broadband capacity since 2013 when Ofcom offered up three-quarters of the spectrum in the 4G auction.
Reserve prices of £70 million have been set for the spectrum and there will be no cap on bidding, Ofcom revealed.
The regulator said that if it was to prevent a bidder from buying large blocks of adjacent spectrum, it could be detrimental to the development of 5G, as blocks create the potential for supporting very fast download speeds.
"This auction is an important step in ensuring that the UK has the wireless capability to deliver and support new technology," said Ofcom spectrum group director Philip Marnick.
Marnick explained that it's not just additional spectrum that's required in order to cope with the increasing demand for mobile data services – new technology is also needed to allocate it more efficiently and networks of small wireless cells will be necessary to provide greater capacity over local areas.
"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," he added.