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O2 secures £448m share in latest spectrum auction

The spectrum being made available is 80MHz in the 700MHz band

Telefonica UK (O2) has secured a significant share in the latest spectrum auction, investing £448m to obtain 40Mhz of 3.6GHz and 20MHz of 700 MHz FDD. 

The UK’s second 5G spectrum auction began Friday, with Ofcom confirming that EE, O2, Three, and Vodafone are all participating. This is the first phase in the two-phase process, in which the carriers competed for individual lots of spectrum, with the second phase relating to the specific positions of the spectrum blocks being awarded.  

The spectrum made available is 80MHz in the 700MHz band, which has been cleared over the last four years by its previous users in the digital terrestrial TV and wireless microphones, as well as 120MHz of spectrum in 3.6–3.8 GHz band.

This auction in fact comes after some minor delays caused by the coronavirus, the advent of which actually saw some of the UK’s carriers argue that Ofcom should simply allocate the available spectrum at the reserve price. Once again, Ofcom rejected these pleas, arguing that there was no feasible way for them to simply allocate the spectrum quickly, efficiently, and fairly in light of their duties.

In a statement, Telefonica said:

This demonstrates Telefonica’s continued commitment to the UK Market and the very best connectivity for our customers. We are delighted with the result, which secured the right spectrum at a fair price.

This additional spectrum will allow for continual improvement in our network. We pride ourselves on being a champion of reliability and quality coverage and look forward to continuing to invest in digital infrastructure to build Britain’s connectivity, for the benefit of all.

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