4G set to improve in the UK as Ofcom plans auction for 2015

We've got the need, the need for speed

Ofcom has announced its plans to auction off some more wireless frequency bands in the UK, likely to be used for expansion of the 4G network.

The 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz bands are the ones Ofcom is looking to offload, with a consultation period on the matter starting now and ending onb January 23.

At present in the UK, the two main bands used for 4G are 800Mhz and 2.6GHz, with others like 2.1GHz, 1800MHz and 900MHz used for 3G and the normal phone signal.

These extra two bands will free up a lot of bandwidth, letting networks cope with the ever-increasing demand for 4G mobile internet.

It's needed too. According to an OpenSignal report released just a few days ago, speed of 4G in the UK has halved over the last year. 4G isn't so '4G' anymore for many.

Lagging behind

Ofcom is to limit the amount of each signal band any one operator can buy to 37% in order to give smaller networks a chance to compete.

The eventual auction of these bands is expected to raise at least £50 million, but as this exchange is done between the giant corporations like Vodafone and the government, this figure means little for the average mobile phone buyer.

There's another issue to consider, though – which phones actually support these bands? Not many.

The standard 4G complement for many 4G phones in the UK is 800/900/1800/2600MHz, so phone makers will have to get up to speed quick.

Andrew Williams

Andrew is a freelance journalist and has been writing and editing for some of the UK's top tech and lifestyle publications including TrustedReviews, Stuff, T3, TechRadar, Lifehacker and others.