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Virgin Media may bid on 4G spectrum

Virgin Media may bid on 4G spectrum
Virgin Media - entering the spectrum race?

Virgin Media is mulling over a possible bid in the UK 4G spectrum auction scheduled for later this year after testing 4G coverage at its Oxford Street store.

The news may come as a surprise to anyone who thought that Ofcom's upcoming auction was a four-horse race, with Branson's phone arm considering joining O2, Everything Everywhere, Vodafone and Three in the fray.

It's not a definite though, with a spokesperson for the network saying, ""Ofcom were quite explicit about encouraging new entrants into the market, which is an encouraging sign.

"They are looking at making the sort of spectrum that we would look to use available, not just for the big mobile operators. So there is potential here for the market to open up."

Trials and tribulations

Virgin's trials are taking place at its flagship store, where it hooked a small cell up to the shop's broadband and tested the connection over a 4G dongle.

Following these low-key tests, the network hopes to expand the trail out to consumers soon too, although the current trials only look at coverage rather than actually using applications over the connection.

Virgin Media's mobile coverage has always been provided by other networks – originally T-Mobile and now Orange too under the Everything Everywhere deal – making it a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), but it could become a fully-fledged network if it does decide to bid on 4G spectrum come the end of the year.

From IT Pro