UK 5G spectrum auction final results
April 27, 2021
By Colin Mann
UK comms regulator Ofcom has announced the final results of the auction for spectrum in the 700 MHz and 3.6-3.8 GHz bands, following completion of the remaining stages.
In March 2021, it announced the results of the principal stage, which determined how much spectrum each of the four bidders – EE Limited, Hutchison 3G UK Limited, Telefonica UK Limited and Vodafone Limited – had secured in both of the bands, and how much they had committed to pay.
The subsequent assignment stage, the results of which we are now confirmed, allowed the companies to bid for the specific frequency positions they preferred for these airwaves. A number of the companies involved submitted bids during the assignment stage, which used the second price rule to determine successful bids. This resulted in an additional £23 million (€26.5m) being raised.
Assignment stage results
Following completion of the assignment stage, Ofcom has granted licences to the four bidders for the following frequencies across the two bands:
- EE Limited – 723-733 MHz and 778-788 MHz; 738-758 MHz; and 3680-3720 MHz.
- Hutchison 3G UK Limited – 713-723 MHz and 768-778 MHz.
- Telefónica UK Limited – 703-713 MHz and 758-768 MHz; and 3760-3800 MHz.
- Vodafone Limited – 3720-3760 MHz.
Winners of spectrum in the 3.6-3.8 GHz band also had the opportunity to negotiate their spectrum positions among themselves. This stage was an important step towards helping companies bring their spectrum holdings in the wider 3.4-3.8 GHz band closer together by giving them the opportunity to discuss post-auction trades to consolidate spectrum won in the 3.6-3.8 GHz band and airwaves they already held in the 3.4-3.6 GHz band. Telefónica UK Limited and Vodafone Limited entered into an agreement during the negotiation period.
With licences for these airwaves now granted, the four mobile companies can now formally notify Ofcom of any trades they agree.
“Now the auction is complete, these companies can use these airwaves to rapidly rollout better mobile services to people across the UK,” advised Philip Marnick, Group Director, Spectrum at Ofcom. “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.”
The total revenue of the auction, including the £23 million raised in the assignment stage, is £1,379,400,000. All money is paid to HM Treasury.