Government to auction wireless Wan licences



Antony Savvas

The Government is emulating its decision to auction third generation mobile phone spectrum licences by doing the same for...



Antony Savvas

The Government is emulating its decision to auction third generation mobile phone spectrum licences by doing the same for frequencies enabling wireless wide area networking, which allows small to medium-sized companies to access the Internet through the air.

The Government is putting licences up for sale in two tranches covering space in the 28GHz and 40GHz bands.

The auctions are not expected to raise as much as that raised in the 3G auction - which had reserve prices set at £500m for each licence.

The latest wireless opportunities are expected to help bring the cost of continuous "always on" Internet access down further. In addition, firms will be able to use the frequencies, to achieve high capacity data transfer and cheaper videoconferencing.

In an interview with Computer Weekly last year, e-minister Patricia Hewitt said she was committed to providing cheaper access to the Internet, and this auction is in-keeping with that promise.

A DTI spokesman (whose department is supervising the auction) said the exact number of licences and their geographical coverage would be announced in March.

The 28GHz licences are expected to be available this summer, and the 40GHz licences in the autumn.

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