Belfast Telegraph

Ofcom starts consultation on 4G spectrum auction

Northern Ireland is being urged to embrace the rollout of the next generation of mobile internet technology.

Ofcom has put out to consultation plans for the largest single auction of additional spectrum for mobile services in the UK - 80% more than the 'third generation' auction in 2000.

Currently, Northern Ireland's 3G coverage is the lowest in the UK at 40%, compared to 70-80% in the other regions.

The 4G service is essential to meet the UK's rapid increase in mobile traffic, fuelled by the growth of smartphones and mobile broadband data services such as video streaming, mapping services and social networking sites.

All these services depend on spectrum - airwaves that carry information between mobile handsets and the internet.

The new spectrum will deliver significantly faster mobile broadband services - approaching today's home broadband speeds. It will also cover more rural areas.

Denis Wolinski, director of Ofcom Northern Ireland said: "I'd encourage everyone who has an interest in improving the future of mobile communications in Northern Ireland to respond to this consultation."