Monday, 15 February 2010

Slow-release spectrum

Seeing in Policy Tracker that Optus in Australia has just bumped up its holdings of 3G spectrum by acquiring some at 2.1 GHz, put me in mind of the quagmire that the field of play has become for UK spectrum.
Unfortunately I think the developing consensus is that, for procedural and technical reasons, as well as the looming UK general election, the long-promised 2.6 GHz auction, even if not combined with 800 Mhz, will not take place before 2011. That might raise an argument for the decoupled 800/900 MHz to be auctioned earlier, but this would need to be assessed against the Independent Spectrum Broker's reasoning for his original recommendations to Government.
If there's enough time left before May (tight), there may well have to be a new consultation and a new draft BIS direction (if the Government stick to that way of doing things) about these proposals once BIS and Ofcom have a clear view on 'which spectrum and when', leaving aside of course the possibility for legal challenges, which still remain a threat.
Meanwhile would-be bidders for 2.6 who want the auction to take place as quickly as possible are publicly pressing for the release of at least the central portion of 50 MHZ spectrum in the 2.6 band.
All very frustrating for those waiting for a seat at the spectrum high table!
You can always blame the lawyers..........