Completion of the UK award of 700 MHz and 3.6-3.8 GHz spectrum

On 27 April 2021, Ofcom published the results of the 700 MHz and 3.6-3.8 GHz spectrum auction. The four UK MNOs were assigned spectrum in the auction, which raised revenue of nearly 1.4 GBP billion. The resulting spectrum assignments are as follows:

  • EE obtained 2×10 MHz FDD and 20 MHz SDL in the 700 MHz band and 40 MHz in the 3.6-3.8 GHz band, for a total licence fee of GBP 475,000,000
  • H3G obtained 2×10 MHz FDD in the 700 MHz band, for a total licence fee of GBP 280,000,000
  • Telefónica (O2) obtained 2×10 MHz FDD in the 700 MHz band and 40 MHz in the 3.6-3.8 GHz band, for a total licence fee of GBP 448,000,000
  • Vodafone obtained 40 MHz in the 3.6-3.8 GHz band, for a total licence fee of GBP 176,400,000

The auction adopted an SMRA-clock hybrid format for the assignment of frequency-generic lots in three categories (700 MHz FDD, 700 MHz SDL and 3.6-3.8 GHz), where the auctioneer specifies round prices for lots in each category and bidders indicate the number of bids in each band they wished to make at prevailing prices. At the end of each round, the auctioneer determines standing high bids for the lots available, and the auction ends where there is no more bidding activity, at which point standing high bids become winning bids. The assignment of specific frequencies corresponding to frequency-generic lots was determined in a follow-up process, which used a combinatorial sealed bid in combination with the possibility for bidders to reach an agreement about assignments in the 3.6-3.8 GHz band (allowing for the possibility that agreements might include some or all winners).

DotEcon advised Ofcom on some aspects of auction design and in the implementation of the auction, which was run using DotEcon’s WebBidder(TM) auction software.

Further details about the auction, including bid data, can be found on Ofcom’s website.

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