Ofcom begins consulting on plans to offer 700MHz, 3.6GHz-3.8GHz spectrum

19 Dec 2018

The UK’s telecoms industry watchdog Ofcom has announced the launch of a consultation in which it is seeking views on its proposals for the award of spectrum in the 700MHz and 3.6GHz-3.8GHz bands. In terms of the key plans, the regulator has said it is preparing to offer up a total of 200MHz of spectrum, split across the 700MHz band (80MHz) and 3.6GHz-3.8GHz band (120MHz). With Ofcom having said it is aiming to have concluded an auction by ‘spring 2020’, it noted that it expects 700MHz frequencies to be available for mobile use by June 2020, and while it said 3.6GHz-3.8GHz should also be useable by that same date, it noted that ‘some localised constraints may remain in place until the end of 2022’.

Meanwhile, in terms of Ofcom’s other key proposals, the watchdog intends to: conduct an auction to award national licences for spectrum in the aforementioned bands; offer discounts on auction prices for any two bidders committing to substantial coverage obligations; use a combinatorial clock auction format; implement a cap of 416MHz (37% of the total) on the cumulative spectrum for mobile services held by any winner in the auction; and consider potential options to facilitate rearrangement of fragmented holdings of spectrum in the 3.4GHz-3.8GHz band.

United Kingdom, Ofcom