4G Spectrum Auction is Complete

Ofcom has completed its auction for slices of the 4G spectrum, although raising £2.3bn, it was expected to raise £3.5bn.  The winning bidders include EE, O2, BT and Vodaphone.

Interestingly the auction in 2000 for 3G frequencies netted £22bn, clearly 4G didn’t get as much love.  The below table shows how the frequency spectrum is currently divided.

Frequency Purpose Owners
Below 800 MHz Radio navigation, transport communications, commercial radio Various
800 MHz Old analogue television frequency, auctioned for 4G EE, Hutchison 3G, O2, Vodafone
900 MHz Original 2G frequency, now also used for 3G O2, Vodafone
1.8 GHz Original 2G frequency, now also used for 3G and 4G (EE only) O2, Vodafone, EE
2.1 GHz 3G frequency created in 2000 O2, Vodafone, EE, Three
2.3 GHz Military radio communications, slated to be auctioned for 4G in 2014 Ministry of Defence
2.4 GHz Household devices, such as wi-fi, bluetooth, cordless phones, microwave ovens None designated (often resulting in local interference)
2.6 GHz Auctioned for 4G EE, Hutchison 3G, Niche Spectrum Ventures, O2, Vodafone
3.5 GHz Military radar, slated to be auctioned for 4G in 2014 Ministry of Defence
Above 3.5 GHz Radar, satellite communications Various

The 4G auction included two bands, 800MHz and 2.6GHz, equal to about two-thirds of the radio frequencies used by wireless devices.

Of all the ‘winners’ Vodaphone got the most although paid a lot for the privilege.  A bid of £791m got them five frequency ranges, three of which are in the higher 2.6GHz area. [bbc]

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