Ofcom to hold £70 million spectrum auction


Networks asked to contribute views on auction of 2.3 Ghz and 3.4 Ghz spectrum due to be held next year

Ofcom has asked operators and other potential bidders to comment on proposals for a spectrum auction due to be held next year.

The regulator will release 2.3 Ghz and 3.4 Ghz spectrum during the auction which is expected to be held in late 2015 or early 2016.

It has now asked potential bidders to give comment on the proposals for the high frequency spectrum, which has yet to be prescribed a specific use but was previously used by the Ministry of Defence.

Ofcom Spectrum Group Director Phillip Marnick said: “Today marks an important step in ensuring that the UK has sufficient spectrum to support our wireless economy.

“It comes in response to the fast pace of change and innovation taking place in the communications sector, which is placing increased demands on how spectrum is used by all industries. One important way of meeting this demand is making new spectrum available and its use as flexible as possible.”

Mobile providers

The 2.3 Ghz spectrum is used to support high speed 4G coverage in ten countries outside of Europe and is compatible with devices including the Apple iPhone 5 and 6, HTC Desire and Samsung’s Galaxy range.

The 3.4 Ghz spectrum is already used for wireless broadband in the UK and five other countries. Ofcom plans to release 38 lots of 5 Mhz of both bands with a reserve price of £1 million per lot for the 3.4 Gz.

A reserve of between £2.5 million and £5 million per lot will be placed on 2.3 Ghz speed, with bidders allowed to request a minimum of four lots per band.

Ofcom said if all lots were sold at the reserve price, the auction would raise between £50 million and £70 million. It added that the bands should be appealing to mobile providers.

An O2 spokesperson said: “We welcome Ofcom’s publication of proposals for the auction of spectrum in the 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz bands. We’ll be looking through the details and will respond to Ofcom in due course”.

Three said it was also interested in the auction, with a spokesperson adding: “We are interested in all spectrum.”

Mobile News contacted EE and Vodafone but both declined to comment. The consultation closes on January 23.