UK regulator Ofcom unveiled the outcome of its latest auction for 5G-suitable frequencies, with the total sum increased to £1.38 billion after EE added £23 million to its original bid.
Ofcom explained the full process had now been completed after finalising an assignment phase in which operators had the chance to bid for specific spectrum blocks.
EE committed the additional sum to guarantee its preferred allocation, taking its total bid to £475 million. O2 UK, 3 UK and Vodafone UK received blocks they previously targeted.
Ofcom’s director for spectrum Philip Marnick said completion of the auction gives the four companies the possibility to “rapidly rollout better mobile services to people across the UK”.
The operators can also make trades, to “optimise use of the spectrum they have won in the auction with their existing airwaves”, Marnick explained.
O2 UK separately stated it had already sealed a deal with Vodafone UK to trade bands to create “more efficient blocks of 5G spectrum”.
The agreement, which is subject to Ofcom’s blessing, is set to improve coverage and accelerate 5G deployments by forming a contiguous block of 80MHz for O2 UK, while ensuring “good proximity” of Vodafone’s blocks totalling 90MHz.