Broadcasters including ITV, BSkyB and the BBC are expected to put in bids for the digital licences of ITV Digital.
The Independent Television Commission has set a deadline of 5pm for applications to be received.
A spokesman for the ITC says the identity of applicants will be announced mid-morning on Friday.
A decision over award of the licences will be announced on July 4.
It is believed the BBC and BSkyB are planning to team up to create a free-to-air digital television service. The two broadcasters refuse to comment on the claim.
Reports say the service will be funded by the BBC's licence fee and through advertising, and would be available through receivers costing viewers less than £100.
Viewers would be able to watch at least three channels from BSkyB - Sky News, Sky Sports News and Sky Travel - as well as BBC Four, BBC Choice and BBC News 24, the report says.
Carlton and Granada, which owned ITV Digital, are also expected to submit an application, in conjunction with Channel 4 and Channel 5.
It had previously been expected that the BBC would bid for the licences in the same consortium.