Vodafone and Three snap up Qualcomm’s UK spectrum

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Chip-maker agrees to offload entire L-band spectrum (1452 – 1492 MHz) to operators in two separate deals

Chipset-maker Qualcomm will offload its UK L-band spectrum in two separate deals with Vodafone and Hutchison Whampoa, it has announced.

Qualcomm’s UK subsidiary Qualcomm UK Spectrum (QUKS) will sell its entire 1452-1492 MHz portfolio to the mobile operators for an undisclosed fee, reported by Bloomberg to be in the region of £200 million.

Three-owner Hutchison and Vodafone have both agreed to buy 20MHz of the L-Band spectrum in separate deals after QUKS put them up for sale in June, subject to regulatory approval from Ofcom.

Qualcomm said: “Harmonized and mandated for mobile broadband by the European Union in May 2015, L-Band spectrum can be used for Supplemental Downlink (SDL), helping Mobile Network Operators to meet the global demand for increased mobile data traffic.”

A spokesperson for Three confirmed the purchase, saying: “We can confirm we have successfully bid for spectrum held by Qualcomm UK Spectrum, subject to conditions and Ofcom’s review of the proposed trade. We will make no further comment until Ofcom has announced the outcome of that review process and the transaction has completed.”

Vodafone also confirmed the deals, with a spokesperson saying the additional L-Band would fit well its existing low frequency spectrum.

“The L-Band spectrum complements Vodafone’s existing low frequency 800MHz spectrum which travels further and penetrates better through walls than other higher frequency 4G signals.

“Over time, Vodafone intends to combine its newly purchased spectrum with 800 MHz using a new technology called 4G+, and also referred to as Carrier Aggregation, to deliver theoretical peak download speeds of up to three times faster than standard 4G.”

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