The first stage of bidding for spectrum in the United Kingdom has ended with of the nation’s biggest telecom companies spending £1.35B ($1.8B U.S.), according to Sky News. The “four majors” in the mix are EE, Three, O2 and Vodafone, hoping to provide 4G and 5G mobile services in the UK. The spectrum being offered, 34 lots across two bands, had been used by the Ministry of Defense but was released to Ofcom for resale.
The winners of the first stage received and paid:
EE/40 MHz of 3.4 GHz spectrum/ £302.6m
Three/20 MHz of 3.4 GHz spectrum/ £151.3m
O2 or Telefonica/all 40 MHz of 2.3 GHz spectrum/£205.9m and 40 MHz of 3.4 GHz spectrum/£317.7m
Vodafone/50 MHz of 3.4 GHz spectrum/£378.2m
Telefonica UK chief executive Mark Evans said: “Our investment in 3.4 GHz enables us to move forward to further improve connectivity whilst boosting the economy and laying the foundations for 5G in Britain.”
The next and final stage of the auction is “the assignment stage,” allowing the winners to bid for where in the frequency bands their new spectrum will be. Ofcom will then issue licenses to the bidders, allowing them to use their spectrum.
Philip Marnick, Ofcom’s spectrum group director, said: “As a nation we’re using ever more mobile data on smartphones and mobile devices. Releasing these airwaves will make it quicker and easier to get online on the move. It will also allow companies to prepare for 5G mobile, paving the way for a range of smart, connected devices.”