On 24 January 2018, Ofcom (the UK telecoms regulator) published the Auction Regulations for the forthcoming award of spectrum rights in the 2.3 GHz band (2350-2390 MHz) and 3.4 GHz band (3410-3480 MHz and 3500-3580 MHz). The Regulations are due to come into effect on Wednesday 31 January 2018.
Once the Regulations are in force, Ofcom will progress a number of the preliminary steps in the auction process, pending the outcome of Three’s appeal to the Court of Appeal regarding the overall bid limit currently proposed at 340 MHz (after the High Court upheld Ofcom’s decision, dismissing claims brought by Three and BT/EE, in its judgement on 20 December 2017).
Ofcom will invite applications for the award process and will commence the steps necessary to decide whether to qualify applicants to participate in the auction. However, Ofcom will stop short of formally qualifying bidders until after the Court of Appeal’s decision is announced, by which point all parties will know whether Ofcom’s decision to impose an overall spectrum cap at 340 MHz is upheld.
Ofcom has taken these steps given its consideration that “it is in the public interest for the auction to take place as soon as possible, in light of the significant and immediate demand for access to the spectrum, and the immediate and direct benefits to consumers of faster, higher quality mobile data services that can be offered using the spectrum.”
DotEcon has advised Ofcom on the design of the auction process and will be implementing the auction using its WebBidder online bidding platform.
More information on the award is available on the Ofcom website.