The packaging of radio spectrum often makes a mockery of technical neutrality, and Ofcom's plan for the digital dividend is no exception though the regulator had surprisingly little choice in the matter. Ofcom's proposal for selling off 250MHz of radio spectrum runs to 555 pages, with annexes and technical reports, but that's …
WiMAX also has an FDD mode so you're argument concerning that doesn't hold. But in anycase LTE is better so it doesn't matter. LTE is better for the following reasons:
1) 1ms subframe duration compared to 5ms subframe duration in WiMAX means that LTE can offer better frequency selective scheduling, which means higher throughputs.
2) LTE has more redundant coding of PDCCH compared to WiMAX control channels, so LTE should tolerate interference and drop calls less than WiMAX. LTE in general seems to have better thought out coding.
3) LTE was designed with a lot more input from global telecoms providers, so interoperability across borders will be better.
There are other reasons but these are the main ones. So LTE is a "good thing".
Don't play Ofcom's game!
I hope the mobile operators remember getting their fingers burned in the 3G auctions and are not so keen to play Ofcom's game this time around! After all, it's been 11 years and how many of us are really bothered about using 3G?
Not much to see, I think
I think the four operators all want to build LTE. They have all undoubtedly told Ofcom this, and Ofcom has divvied up the spectrum to suit them. As there aren't a lot of other companies jostling in the wings to become new entrants and there is enough spectrum to go round between the four, the situation is quite different from the 2000 auction, when there were lots of potential new entrants. We now have an auction.
Four LTE networks and not a lot else is fine if there is nobody who wants to build anything else. If there is, then Ofcom has maybe let someone or the public down. If not, not so much.
The myth of technology neutrality and the flexibility of LTE
The comments about the superiority of LTE are essentially correct. Furthermore LTE is being developed and will soon be commercial in TDD (unpaired) as well as FDD (paired mode) and in multiple channel widths and frequency bands. While FDD mobile WiMAX profiles are being standardized, so far there have been no indications that any vendor is investing in their development. The idea of pure "technology neutrality" while superficially appealing is a myth, since any pre-defined band plan against which bidders have to make offers will tend to favor one technology over others depending on the choices its developers make. The alternative, long argued for by Intel and others, that bidders for licenses should be allowed to decide what channels and structures they want within a band (i.e a flexible plan like ITU Option 3 for the 2.6 GHz band) is unworkable and inefficient. It is likely to lead to chaos as various bidders try to manage interference between their various paired and unpaired blocks. The result will be a loss of otherwise usable frequencies and capacity and additional delays in being able to deploy networks. This outcome would not be in the interests of customers, which should be paramount.
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