Both EE and Three have objected to Ofcom’s proposed 5G spectrum caps, even taking legal action. However, the UK High Court overruled their case and is allowing the auction to go ahead.
Aimed at supporting deployment of 5G, the auction will offer spectrum in the 2.3 GHz and 3.4 GHz bands. The 2.3GHz can be used by mobile carriers immediately to improve services, while the 3.4 GHz spectrum band can be used for future 5G mobile services. 40 megahertz of spectrum will be auctioned in the 2.3 GHz band and 150 megahertz of spectrum will be auctioned in the 3.4GHz band.
The regulator said in a statement:
“Ofcom believes it is in the public interest for the auction to take place as soon as possible in light of the significant and strong demand for access to the spectrum, and the immediate and direct benefits to consumers of faster, higher quality mobile data services that can be offered using the spectrum.”
Three, the UK’s smallest major operator, measured by its subscribers, is taking the case to the Court of Appeal, claiming it should have priority over EE for the auction.
Rules for the auction will be published on 24th January before coming into force on 31st January. The regulator is expecting applications to start arriving the following week. However, before it qualifies bidders, the regulator will hold off until the results of Three’s case — due February 14th.
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