The spectrum is being made available by the Ministry of Defence after the UK government made it plain it wants to free the airwaves for civil use.
The auction will of 190MHz of high capacity spectrum in two bands – 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz. Ofcom said these are well suited for high speed mobile broadband services and equivalent to three quarters of the spectrum released by Ofcom in the 2013 4G auction.
Ofcom is setting reserve prices of £70 million for the spectrum.
The regulator said there won’t be a cap on the amounts that bidders can buy with large blocks supporting very fast download speeds, paving the way for a future 5G standard.
Most smartphones from major manufacturers including Samsung and Apple are already compatible with the 2.3GHz spectrum, while the 3.4GHz band is being used for 4G wireless broadband in six countries including the UK.