Ofcom has announced the outcome of the principal stage of its auction to release more airwaves to improve mobile services and support 5G. The process raised £1,356,400,000, with all money to be paid to HM Treasury.
A total of 200 MHz of spectrum was available to bid for in the auction, split across two bands: 80 MHz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band, and 120 MHz of spectrum in 3.6-3.8 GHz band.
EE won 2×10 MHz of paired frequency spectrum in the 700 MHz band, 20 MHz of supplementary downlink spectrum in the 700 MHz band, and 40 MHz in the 3.6-3.8 GHz band. Three won 2×10 MHz of paired frequency spectrum in the 700 MHz band. O2 won 2×10 MHz of paired frequency spectrum in the 700 MHz band and 40 MHz in the 3.6-3.8 GHz band. Vodafone won 40 MHz in the 3.6-3.8 GHz band.
Reacting to the announcement, Robert Finnegan, chief executive officer at Three, said, “We are delighted to have won two 10MHz blocks of low frequency spectrum at the auction. This triples the amount of low frequency spectrum we own and will have a transformative effect on our customers’ experience indoors and in rural areas.”
Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s consumer business, added, “This auction outcome is great news for our network, our customers and BT.”
The auction will now move to the ‘assignment’ stage, where the mobile network operators can bid for the frequency positions they prefer for the airwaves they have secured in the principal stage. Bidders will then have the opportunity to negotiate the frequency positions among themselves, subject to whether the companies wish to enter the negotiation period.