The auction is expected to take several weeks with two smaller players competing alongside all four MNOs
UK regulatory body Ofcom will open bidding for spectrum bands key to 5G rollout on March 20.
Six firms will compete for 40MHz in the 2.3GHz spectrum which can be immediately used for 4G. Also up for tender is 150MHz in the 3.5GHz band which is seen as key for 5G services. The auction is expected to run for several weeks.
The auction follows EE and Three having legal challenges in bids to force Ofcom to change its rules on the spectrum auction rejected.
Three wanted a spectrum cap of 30 per cent and EE moved to repeal the 37 per cent cap applied by Ofcom.
The regulatory body originally looked to start bidding in April after Three’s challenge was thrown out by the Court of Appeals.
EE and Three were confirmed to take part in the auction last week alongside O2 and Vodafone. Two other bidders Connexin Limited and Airspan Spectrum Holdings Limited will also take part.