UK communications regulator Ofcom has announced its new annual licence fees for the paired 2100 MHz spectrum band which covers 3G services.

This spectrum was originally auctioned in 2000 for a fixed licence term of 20 years, to deliver 3G services, and is currently held by the four mobile network operators: EE, Vodafone, Three UK and the recently merged VirginMediaO2.

With 3G services being phased out in the UK, the operators are now required to pay annual licence fees from 1 January 2022, set at £561,000 per MHz for the paired 2100 MHz spectrum. Based on current holdings EE will pay £22.4m, Vodafone will pay £16.6m, Three UK will pay £16.5m and VM02 will pay £11.2m to maintain use of the spectrum next year.

The regulator said it planned to consult further on the future use of the unpaired 2100 MHz spectrum band and had not yet set a fee for its ongoing use.

Last week, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said the UK planned to switch off all public 2G and 3G networks by 2033 to free up spectrum for 5G and other future network technology.

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