The UK might be enjoying the benefits of superfast 4G mobile networks in 2013, as telecoms regulator Ofcom has unveiled plans to start the biggest auction for the service by the end of this year.

The equivalent of about three quarters of the mobile spectrum that is currently in use will be offered at the auction, which is 80% more than was offered at the previous 3G auction in 2000, Ofcom reveals.

It is believed that the latest generation of mobile technology will be beneficial to at least 98% of the UK population, including the vast majority of villages in remote areas. The roll-out of 4G broadband will provide high speed Internet to smartphones and tablets, allowing consumers to comfortably use various wireless devices, the regulator points out.

In a bid to promote competition, Ofcom has decided to reserve part of the spectrum for a fourth big provider, apart from the three large mobile operators operating at present. The inclusion of another “credible” company is likely to keep prices down and ensure quality of the service, the regulator believes.

The news that superfast mobile data transfer may be just around the corner means that brands should no longer postpone mobile optimisation of their sites. With high speed and coverage practically everywhere, UK consumers are even more likely to access online content from their mobile devices and retailers who fail to keep up to date might be squeezed out of the market, experts explain.

Ben Hollom

July 31, 2012