Insights Ofcom publishes statement on the award of the 700 MHz and 3.6-3.8 GHz spectrum bands


Ofcom has published the conclusions of a further consultation on a technical model used in its spectrum auction rules statement, and an update on the expected timing for the auction.

Following concerns raised by one company about a model used to help inform its decisions around the release of spectrum in the 700 MHz and 3.6-3.8 GHz bands, Ofcom published more information and adjusted some of the results it included in its statement.

Having consulted further in this way, Ofcom has concluded that the revised results are consistent with its view that it is likely to be technically feasible for operators to support a wide range of 5G services with holdings of 5G ready spectrum that are smaller than 80 MHz, including 40 MHz.

Given the importance of these airwaves for helping to improve mobile services and support 5G, Ofcom says that it wants to see the spectrum put to use as soon as possible.

It has carried out extensive consultations on releasing these airwaves and remains committed to doing this through an auction. Therefore, it is continuing to adapt its processes so the auction can be run securely and safely, taking account of the circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic. The priority will be both to ensure the safety and integrity of the process.

Ofcom’s current aim is to start the formal auction process in November 2020, with a view to bidding starting in January 2021, subject to any new developments, including any potential litigation or changes to working restrictions related to Covid-19. To read Ofcom’s statement in full, click here.