Ofcom’s 5G spectrum auction to release more airwaves for mobile broadband and future 5G services

Five companies involved in the 5G spectrum auction.

Ofcom 5G spectrum auction - Office Phone Shop

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During the 5G spectrum auction, companies will bid over a series of rounds and this may take a number of weeks depending on the level of demand from bidders.

Available in two bands, the first band, 2.3 GHz, can be used by mobile companies as soon as it is released, to increase mobile broadband capacity for today’s mobile users.

The second band, 3.4 GHz, is earmarked for 5G, the next generation of mobile technology, which also has the potential to pave the way for innovative new services in transport, healthcare and many other industries.

The five approved companies bidding are Airspan Spectrum Holdings Ltd; EE Limited; Hutchison 3G UK Limited; Telefonica UK Limited and Vodafone Limited.

There will be a total of 190 MHz of spectrum available across the two bands: 40 MHz in the 2.3 GHz band and 150 MHz in the 3.4 GHz band. Caps on the spectrum include EE being unable to bid for any spectrum in the 2.3 GHz band, due to it already holding the most. Ofcom will also implement an overall cap on how much a single company can hold after the auction in order to protect competition in the market.

Ofcom’s duty is to manage the use of spectrum efficiently, rather than maximise the financial value of the auction.
Philip Marnick, Ofcom’s Spectrum Group Director said:

“Our job is to release these airwaves quickly and efficiently, and we want to see them in use as soon as possible. We are glad the auction is now underway. This spectrum will help improve people’s experience of using mobile broadband today, and also help companies prepare for future 5G services.”

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