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UK spectrum auction delay O

fcom has announced a further delay in its auction

programme for the 800 MHz and 2·6 GHz spectrum bands – possibly until this time next year. T e decision follows a consultation during the Spring on future competition in mobile markets and proposals. “We received a number of

substantial and strongly argued responses to this consultation”, the regulator reports. “In light of these responses, and the signifi cance of the decisions that we need to take – decisions that are likely to shape the future of the mobile sector in the UK for the next

decade or more – we have decided to undertake a further round of consultation on these issues.” Ofcom now intends to publish

a further consultation document around the end of this year. A con- sultation period of at least eight weeks will follow and a decision is likely to be made next summer. T e regulator points out that

the two bands will not in any case be available for new uses until 2013.

France’s 4G Four mobile phone companies in France have successfully bid a total of €936 million for spectrum

blocks at 2·6 GHz to launch 4G services, comfortably exceeding the reserve price of €700 million. In a second 4G allocation round, licences are to be awarded for 800 MHz spectrum. Deadline for applications is December 15. • Ofcom has added a new tech-

nical investigation to its collec- tion of documents relating to the proposed 800 MHz and 2·6 GHz spectrum auctions. Prepared by ERA Technology, the 49-page report focuses on the potential for interference to social alarms from future 800 MHz LTE services. It can be downloaded fromhttp://

Collaborating in white space C

ambridge-based radio company Neul has formed a partnership with the Californian

developer Carlson Wireless to develop a ‘white space’ networking system for wireless Internet services. Using ‘white space’ frequencies in the UHF

television bands, wireless Internet service providers (WISPs) will be able provide a connection for subscribers without always needing a line-of-sight radio path.

Affordable prices “Millions of people around the world do not currently have access to decent broadband at affordable prices”, said Luke D’Arcy, of Neul. “Pioneering WISPs are already helping many people

Government cash for UK’s ‘not spots’


he Chancellor, George Osborne, has announced

plans to invest up to £150 million to extend mobile phone coverage to reach 99 per cent of the UK population, writesMatt Conder. Currently, across the UK as a whole, there is only 95 per cent mobile phone coverage. The Government believes

the cash injection, which will be used to fund new masts, will benefi t the 5–10 per cent of consumers and businesses in areas with poor or non-existent coverage, such as remote and rural communities. Making the announcement

to get on-line. White space radio technology will allow them to serve even more customers, thanks to its long range and non-line-of-sight capabilities. Neul and Carlson’s new product is the fi rst white space radio system designed specifi cally for WISPs, making the new spectrum easy to use, and allowing WISPs to grow their businesses profi tably.” Both companies have been involved in trials of

white-space technology. Carlson was one of the fi rst to implement successful TV white space-based broadband systems under experimental licences, notably on Native American reservations. Neul plays an active role in the Cambridge White Spaces Consortium, and has several wireless data trials in progress in the UK.

T e Tizen initiative, an open-source venture, is already supported by a number of Nordic companies, including the system integrator Elektrobit. T e analysts IDC explain that the aim of Tizen is to provide phone makers and mobile operators with an

New mobile Linux initiative A

new Linux-based software platform for devices such as smartphones, tablets, netbooks, smart TV and in- vehicle entertainment systems has been unveiled by Intel, the Linux Foundation and the LiMo Foundation.

alternative to fi ght the dominance of Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. Initially, Android was seen a free, open source platform with which they could compete against iOS and Symbian. However, news of the acquisition of Motorola Mobility by Google changed the game. “T e acquisition is alienating most of the major Android players as they feel too dependent on Google’s strat-

egy for Android, not to mention the several law suits they are facing for patent infringements”, IDC observes. “Tizen, the new platform based on industry standards and supporting HTML5, is an opportunity for manufac- turers to lower their dependency on Android, seen now as a threat.” First release of Tizen and its software development kit is expected in the fi rst quarter of next year. For more information, visit

• Android now ranks second in smartphone sales across fi ve leading EU markets, including the UK, according to the market research fi rm comScore. HTC and Samsung devices accounted for almost two-thirds of these Android sales.


at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, Mr Osborne said that the plan would improve coverage for around six million people. The Government said it would work with Ofcom on the procurement of additional mobile phone mast sites – to begin in 2012.

‘Economic limit’ Welcoming the news, Bob Warner, chair of the Communications Consumer Panel, an independent advisory body, said: “Inadequate mobile coverage is a major concern for the panel, and we have campaigned for intervention to improve coverage for rural communities and small businesses.” He added: “A pure market-oriented approach to delivering coverage for 2G voice services has now reached its economic limit.” William Worsley, president

of the Country Land & Business Association, said: “By addressing the rural broadband infrastructure with extra funding and tackling the problems rural areas have in receiving a decent mobile phone signal, the Government is taking the countryside seriously and recognizing that the rural economy has a lot to offer.”

LAND mobile October 2011

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