Ofcom finalises rules for mobile airwaves auction

Ofcom has confirmed how airwaves to support the rollout of 5G will be released.

The regulator held a consultation on its proposal at the end of last year, and has today confirmed the rules for how the auction will work. This will increase the total amount of airwaves available for mobile in the UK by 18 per cent.

Philip Marnick, spectrum group director at Ofcom, said, “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. We’re also releasing more airwaves to help cement the UK’s place as a world leader in 5G.”

As previously indicated, the auction will involve companies bidding for spectrum in two different frequency bands. Those bands are:

The auction itself will involve two stages, as below, which is a similar format to that used for its 2018 spectrum auction.

The assignment stage allows winners of 3.6-3.8 GHz spectrum to negotiate their placements within the band among themselves. This means mobile operators have the opportunity to create more continuous ‘blocks’ of 5G-ready spectrum.

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