UK regulator Ofcom has outlined plans to sell mmWave spectrum in the 26GHz and 40GHz bands.

But an auction won't be held until a decision has been made by competition authorities on the proposed Vodafone and Three UK merger.

Ofcom Riverside_House,_Bankside_01.jpg
– Wikimedia/Jim Linwood

The spectrum will be allocated to the UK's four mobile operators for 5G and other mobile technologies.

Ofcom had said back in March that it expected to hold the auction during the first quarter of next year.

But the regulator said that it doesn't expect a decision from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on the proposed merger until September 2024.

"After careful consideration, given these specific circumstances, to avoid the risk of an inefficient allocation of spectrum, we have decided to delay commencing the auction process," said Ofcom.

"Therefore, we will not commence the auction process until the CMA has taken its decision on the proposed merger. We therefore do not expect the award process to begin before Q3 FY 2024/25."

Ofcom did, however, state that it plans to make Shared Access licenses available in the 26 GHz band early next year.

Once a decision is made by the CMA, Ofcom will push ahead with its plans to auction 6GHz of frequencies in the two bands, awarding licenses for 15-year terms.

The spectrum will be targeted at 68 major towns and cities where Ofcom expects the highest volume of mmWave deployments, the regulator confirmed.