The UK’s telecoms regulator Ofcom has announced the final results of the auction for spectrum in the 700MHz and 3.6GHz-3.8GHz bands. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in March 2021 Ofcom announced the results of the principal stage of the sale process, which determined how much spectrum each of the four bidders – EE, O2 UK, Three UK and Vodafone UK – had secured and how much they had committed to pay.
A subsequent assignment stage how now been completed, in which companies were able to bid for the specific frequency positions they preferred. The regulator noted that ‘a number of the companies involved’ submitted bids during this stage, which used the second price rule to determine successful bids, and the regulator confirmed it had raised a further GBP23 million (USD32 million).
Following completion of the assignment stage, Ofcom has confirmed the granting of concessions to the four winning bidders for the following frequencies across the two bands:
· EE – 723MHz-733MHz/778MHz-788 MHz; 738MHz-758 MHz; and 3680MHz-3720MHz
· O2 UK – 703MHz-713MHz/758MHz-768MHz; and 3760MHz-3800MHz
· Three UK – 713MHz-723MHz/768MHz-778MHz
· Vodafone UK – 3720MHz-3760MHz.
Meanwhile, the watchdog noted that winners of frequencies in the 3.6GHz-3.8GHz band also had the opportunity to negotiate their spectrum positions among themselves, and it confirmed that O2 UK and Vodafone UK did enter into an agreement during the negotiation period.
Commenting on the matter, Philip Marnick, Group Director, Spectrum at Ofcom said: ‘Now the auction is complete, these companies can use these airwaves to rapidly rollout better mobile services to people across the UK. This additional spectrum will also support the ongoing launch of new 5G connections for people and businesses. Importantly, the bidders also have the flexibility to make trades, so they can optimise use of the spectrum they have won in the auction with their existing airwaves.’