The auction of the airwaves which can create faster mobile services for rural areas and hasten the rollout of 5G has ended, with all four operators pleased with their haul.
The sell-off of chunks of spectrum within the 700-megahertz and three .6-3.8-gigahertz bands raised £1.3bn for the govt.
EE, Three, O2, and Vodafone all gained a share, much of which can be wont to boost their 5G networks. Ofcom said it should also improve coverage.
The 700MHz band is best suited to rural and in-building coverage, while the three .6-3.8GHz frequencies are better for 5G as they permit greater levels of knowledge transfer.
Ofcom group director of spectrum Philip Marnick said: “This is a crucial breakthrough in bringing better mobile services to people wherever they live, work, and travel.”
Three said it had won enough of the 700MHz band to triple the number of low-frequency spectrum it owned.
“It will have a transformative effect on our customers’ experience indoors and in rural areas”, it said.
EE and O2, meanwhile, gained spectrum in both bands, which they said would be wont to grow their 5G networks.
And Vodafone acquired spectrum within the three .6-3.8GHz bands, which it said would bring “high-speed connectivity and open up new opportunities for products and services”.
The price raised is little compared with previous auctions. The 4G spectrum sell-off raised £2.3bn for the govt, while the 3G auction netted £22.5bn.
“The swift conclusion of the auction and thus the relatively modest overall spend is nice news for UK 5G,” CCS Insight analyst Kester Mann said.
The auction will now enter an assignment phase, which may see the operators jockeying for position within their frequency bands.
And this could prove more controversial.
“This process could also be more competitive than in previous auctions, as Vodafone and O2, for instance, reportedly expressed concern at the fragmented nature of the sale,” Mr. Mann said.