Insights Ofcom announces final results of the auction for spectrum in the 700 MHz and 3.6-3.8 GHz bands

In March, Ofcom announced the results of the principal stage, which determined how much spectrum each of the four bidders (EE Ltd, Hutchison 3G UK Ltd, Telefonica UK Ltd and Vodafone Ltd) had secured in both of the bands, and how much they had committed to pay.

The subsequent assignment stage allowed the companies to bid for the specific frequency positions they preferred for these airwaves. A number of the companies involved submitted bids during the assignment stage, which used the second price rule to determine successful bids. This resulted in an additional £23 million being raised.

Following completion of the assignment stage, Ofcom granted licences to the four bidders for the following frequencies across the two bands:

  • EE: 723-733 MHz and 778-788 MHz; 738-758 MHz; and 3680-3720 MHz;
  • Hutchison 3G UK: 713-723 MHz and 768-778 MHz;
  • Telefónica UK: 703-713 MHz and 758-768 MHz; and 3760-3800 MHz; and
  • Vodafone: 3720-3760 MHz.

Winners of spectrum in the 3.6-3.8 GHz band also had the opportunity to negotiate their spectrum positions amongst themselves. This stage was an important step towards helping companies bring their spectrum holdings in the wider 3.4-3.8 GHz band closer together by giving them the opportunity to discuss post-auction trades to consolidate spectrum won in the 3.6-3.8 GHz band and airwaves they already held in the 3.4-3.6 GHz band. Telefónica UK and Vodafone entered into an agreement during this negotiation period.

With licences for these airwaves now granted, the four mobile companies can now formally notify Ofcom of any trades they agree.

The total revenue of the auction, including the £23 million raised in the assignment stage, is £1,379,400,000. All money is paid to HM Treasury. To read Ofcom’s announcement in full, click here.