After completing an intense four-year programme to clear it, Ofcom is releasing 80MHz of low band spectrum in the 700MHz band. This low-band spectrum will allow operators to provide more rural locations with better coverage.
It isn’t stopping there though, as Ofcom will also release an additional 120MHz of mid band spectrum in the 3.6-3.8GHz bracket. This spectrum has been much sought after by UK telecoms as it offers the best of both worlds – strong coverage levels and higher download speeds. All four of the UK’s mobile operators launched their 5G networks using this band and all wish to acquire plenty more.
A world leader in 5G
Ofcom hopes to meet the growing demand for 5G and help to improve the UK’s coverage by selling more spectrum at the auction.
“Demand for getting online, on the move, is soaring with mobile customers using nearly 40% more data year on year. So, releasing these airwaves will bring a much-needed capacity boost - helping mobile customers get a better service,” said Philip Marnick, spectrum group director at Ofcom.
“We’re also releasing more airwaves to help cement the UK’s place as a world leader in 5G,” he added.
Ofcom has announced that it will be making the spectrum available in the following groups:
- Six lots of 2x5 MHz (60 MHz in total) in the 700 MHz band with a reserve price of £100m per lot
- Four lots of 5 MHz (20 MHz in total) of 700 MHz downlink-only spectrum, with a reserve price of £1m per lot
- 24 lots of 5 MHz (120 MHz in total) of 3.6-3.8 GHz spectrum, with a reserve price of £20m per lot
If the US 5G spectrum auctions are anything to go by, a lot will be spent at Ofcom’s next auction. The latest FFC auction in the US had 37GHz, 39GHz and 47GHz spectrum bands up for grabs, and the auction raised a whopping total of $7.558 billion, with Verizon and AT&T emerging as the winners, spending $3 billion in total.