British telecoms regulator Ofcom has accomplished its 5G spectrum public sale following a two-month delay.
The spectrum public sale was initially scheduled to happen in January however was pushed again amid one other wave of COVID-19.
“The auction and subsequent release of spectrum remain central to the future rollout of mobile networks and 5G. The economy’s recovery from COVID-19 is dependent on resilient digital infrastructure and we urge Ofcom to resist any further requests for delays,” a spokesperson for EE-owner BT mentioned on the time.
Fortunately, no additional delays had been deemed mandatory and Ofcom introduced the outcomes of the public sale at the moment.
A complete of 200 MHz of spectrum was auctioned throughout two bands:
- 80 MHz of spectrum within the 700 MHz band. This band is fitted to protecting huge areas, corresponding to within the countryside.
- 120 MHz of spectrum in 3.6-3.8 GHz band. These airwaves are perfect for city deployments, serving to to spice up cell knowledge capability in areas with numerous connections.
Philip Marnick, Group Director of Spectrum at Ofcom, mentioned: “With bidding within the principal stage concluded, we now transfer to the subsequent stage of the public sale the place the operators could have a chance to barter the place of their spectrum holdings within the wider band. This is a crucial step ahead in bringing higher cell companies to folks – wherever they dwell, work and journey.
“These airwaves will help improve coverage for the mobile services people use today, as well as supporting the UK’s position as a world leader in 5G.”
All 4 main operators – EE, Three, O2, and Vodafone – took half within the public sale.
- EE received 2×10 MHz of paired frequency spectrum within the 700 MHz band at a value of £280,000,000; 20 MHz of supplementary downlink spectrum within the 700 MHz band at a value of £4,000,000; and 40 MHz within the 3.6-3.8 GHz band at a value of £168,000,000.
- Three received 2×10 MHz of paired frequency spectrum within the 700 MHz band at a value of £280,000,000.
Kester Mann, Director of Consumer and Connectivity at CCS Insight, commented: “Winning prized 700 MHz spectrum was particularly important to EE and Three. Both were lagging in low-band frequencies, which are best-suited to achieving wide-area, rural, and in-building coverage.”
- O2 received 2×10 MHz of paired frequency spectrum within the 700 MHz band at a value of £280,000,000; and 40 MHz within the 3.6-3.8 GHz band at a value of £168,000,000.
“With the smallest holding coming into the auction, O2 will be pleased to scoop both low-band and mid-band spectrum. Its 33 percent increase in frequencies will be crucial to support the more than 35 million customers that use its network,” explains Mann.
- Vodafone received 40 MHz within the 3.6-3.8 GHz band at a value of £176,400,000.
Ahmed Essam, Chief Executive of Vodafone UK, mentioned: “This public sale will enhance our 5G community capability. It means we could have the spectrum we have to additional the roll-out of 5G to our clients, bringing high-speed connectivity and opening up new alternatives for services and products.
“We have been successful in the 3.6 GHz band and have avoided expenditure on low band spectrum, where it is our strategy to refarm over time our significant 900 MHz holdings to carry 5G traffic.”
In complete, the public sale raised £1,356,400,000 for the HM Treasury.
Mann concludes: “The swift conclusion of the auction and the relatively modest overall spend is good news for UK 5G. The UK was fast out of the blocks with early 5G launches in 2019, but progress has been hindered by the government ban on Huawei.”
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