The Ofcom 4G spectrum sale has been postponed until 2016 due to Telefonica and Hutchison's O2 Three merger and BT and EE's mobile mega deal

Lynsey Barber
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The spectrum sale will obring 4G to more places

The government's sale of 4G spectrum which is expected to net the Treasury at least £70m has been delayed by the deal between Hutchison and Telefonica to merge mobile its networks O2 and Three.

The auction process was due to commence this month, however, it will now go ahead as late as summer next year to wait for an EU decision on the mobile operators' deal.

The auction of the 2.3 and 3.4 GHz spectrum released by the MOD for use by the public will increase 4G coverage across the country.

Read more: One simple map showing UK's mobile coverage by poscode

O2 and Hutchison had threatened a judicial review of the spectrum sale if the process commenced before a decision by Brussels.

The UK's market regulator is also not due to make a decision on the merger of BT and EE until January 2016, contributing towards the decision to push back the lucrative sale by Ofcom. It said:

"After careful consideration, given these specific circumstances, we have decided for reasons of good public administration to delay commencing the auction process.

Therefore, Ofcom will not now commence the auction process until the European Commission has taken its decision as to whether the proposed merger between Telefónica UK Limited and Hutchison 3G UK Limited is compatible with the common market," it said in an update this morning."

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