18 Dec 2012

MOD to auction radio spectrum

The Ministry of Defence is planning to auction some of its radio spectrum in the first direct sale of its kind by a Government department.

Radio spectrum refers to the radio waves over which all wireless communication takes place, including radio, television, radar, satellite, mobile voice and data. Under these plans, the MOD intends to auction around 200MHz of its spectrum usage rights.

The sale will give private operators the chance to buy more spectrum to support the introduction of fourth-generation mobile services to people in cities, towns and villages across the UK. Alternatively, the spectrum could be used by fixed line operators to provide wireless access to broadband services.

Almost half of all spectrum below 15GHz is held by the public sector and is used for a broad range of services including defence, emergency services, transport and science. The MOD holds around three quarters of all publicly held spectrum and one third of all spectrum below 15GHz.

Preparations are expected to start at the end of 2013, with the auction completed by the summer of 2014. Ahead of this, the MOD intends to produce an Industry Brochure in spring 2013 and host an Industry Day in early summer 2013.

Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Philip Dunne said:

“We welcome this opportunity to free up much-needed spectrum. We hope that the sale will help drive the roll-out of new generation networks and universal access to broadband, both of which are vital to the UK’s prosperity.”