Ofcom announced the total revenue raised from the principal stage of spectrum auction touched £1.356 billion on March 17, 2021.
Ofcom, the telecom regulator, conducted the spectrum auction in order to release more airwaves to improve mobile services and support 5G. Four companies – EE, Hutchison 3G UK, Telefonica UK and Vodafone – took part in the principal stage of the auction.
EE has emerged as the winner during the spectrum auction.
Ofcom kept a total of 200 MHz of spectrum — 80 MHz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band, and 120 MHz of spectrum in 3.6-3.8 GHz band – for sale during the spectrum auction.
EE has won 2×10 MHz of paired frequency spectrum in the 700 MHz band for £280 million; 20 MHz of supplementary downlink spectrum in the 700 MHz band for £4 million; and 40 MHz in the 3.6-3.8 GHz band for £168 million.
Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer Business, said the outcome was “great news for our network, our customers and BT”.
Hutchison 3G UK has won 2×10 MHz of paired frequency spectrum in the 700 MHz band at a cost of £280 million.
Three said it had tripled its low frequency spectrum, which chief executive Robert Finnegan said would transform its customers’ experience indoors and in rural areas.
Telefonica UK has won 2×10 MHz of paired frequency spectrum in the 700 MHz band for £280 million; and 40 MHz in the 3.6-3.8 GHz band for £168 million.
Telefonica O2 chief executive Mark Evans said the telecom operator’s investment in new spectrum demonstrated Telefonica’s continued commitment to the UK market.
Vodafone has won 40 MHz in the 3.6-3.8 GHz band for £176 million.
Vodafone has been successful in the 3.6 GHz band, said UK chief executive Ahmed Essam, adding that it had avoided buying low band spectrum, where its strategy was to refarm its 900 MHz holdings to carry 5G traffic.
The auction will move to the assignment stage. This process involves a single bidding round in which the companies can bid for the frequency positions they prefer for the airwaves they have secured in the principal stage.
After submitting their assignment stage bids in the 3.6-3.8 GHz band, bidders will have the opportunity to negotiate the frequency positions among themselves – if they want to join together the airwaves they have secured with spectrum they already hold in the wider 3.4-3.8 GHz band. This will be subject to whether the companies wish to enter the negotiation period.