This morning the UK telecoms regulator issued what it described as "one of the most important that Ofcom has ever made". In a nutshell, Ofcom plans to auction off the digital dividend – spectrum freed up when analogue TV is switched off – in 2009.
Licences will be technology-neutral, allowing licensees to decide on technology and services themselves, and will be tradeable.
Only a small part of the spectrum will be reserved specifically for one use
In just one case Ofcom has elected to reserve spectrum for a particular use – wireless microphones. This will be awarded via a beauty contest.
That leaves DTT (standard and HD), cognitive radio, high-speed mobile broadband and mobile TV, and local TV fighting it out for the remaining spectrum. Ofcom claims its research showed keen interest in the above services, although interestingly, a previously published document actually showed little or no public interest in mobile TV.
More info on Total Telecom later.