UK frees-up spectrum ahead of 700MHz auction - Mobile World Live

UK frees-up spectrum ahead of 700MHz auction

21 AUG 2020

UK regulator Ofcom completed the three-year process of clearing spectrum previously used to host broadcast services, ahead of auctioning it to mobile operators in 2021.

The project to clear the 700MHz band, which is expected to be used for 4G and 5G services, was unveiled in 2012 and required collaboration with a range of stakeholders already using the frequencies. These included providers of digital TV transmissions and wireless microphone users.

Ofcom noted the spectrum would be ready for use by mobile operators as soon as the auction is complete and licences are allocated.

Having been pushed back due to the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the UK’s next airwaves auction is scheduled to begin in January 2021, with 80MHz of 700MHz spectrum and 120MHz in the 3.6GHz to 3.8GHz band going under the hammer.

In a statement earlier this month, the regulator said the upcoming sale would increase the allocation available to operators by almost a fifth (18 per cent) allowing them to bring “better and faster services” to consumers and enterprise.

Ofcom had faced pressure to ditch the auction format completely in favour of just allocating it in the wake of operators being told they had to undertake the costly action of removing Huawei kit from their 5G networks.

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Chris Donkin

Chris joined the Mobile World Live team in November 2016 having previously worked at a number of UK media outlets including Trinity Mirror, The Press Association and UK telecoms publication Mobile News. After spending 10 years in journalism, he moved...

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