EE, Hutchison, Telefónica, Vodafone, Airspan and Connexin to Bid for 5G Spectrum in the UK

EE, Hutchison, Telefónica, Vodafone, Airspan and Connexin to Bid for 5G Spectrum in the UK Image Credit: Ofcom

Ofcom last week announced the six companies that are qualified to take part in its upcoming 5G mobile spectrum auction in the 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz bands.

Joining the four main operators in the UK - EE, Hutchison 3G UK, Telefónica UK and Vodafone - are the two fixed wireless ISPs, Airspan Spectrum and Connexin who will be allowed to bid for a slice of the spectrum.

The auction includes which expects to start in late March is an expansion of the UKs existing 4G spectrum and a higher frequency spectrum band for the roll out of future 5G services.

The spectrum available in the auction is as follows:

 - 40 MHz of spectrum will be auctioned in the 2.3 GHz band, which is already supported by current mobile devices and could be used immediately after release.

 - 150 MHz of spectrum will be auctioned in the 3.4 GHz band. These airwaves are not compatible with most current mobile devices, but are central to the roll out of 5G mobile across Europe.

The auction plans, announced last year, had been subject to legal challenge by both Three and BT/EE. The High Court rejected these claims in December 2017, and earlier this month, the Court of Appeal refused Three permission to appeal that decision. Ofcom is now pressing ahead with plans to hold the auction as quickly as possible.

Philip Marnick, Spectru, Group Director, Ofcom
We’re pressing ahead with the auction to make these airwaves available as quickly as possible. This will benefit today’s mobile users by providing more capacity for mobile broadband use. It will also pave the way for 5G - allowing operators to launch the next generation of mobile technology.

Ray is a news editor at The Fast Mode, bringing with him more than 10 years of experience in the wireless industry.

For tips and feedback, email Ray at ray.sharma(at)thefastmode.com, or reach him on LinkedIn @raysharma10, Facebook @1RaySharma

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