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Operators spend £1.35bn on 4G and 5G airwaves in spectrum auction

Manny Pham
April 5, 2018

Vodafone spent the most on 5G earmarked spectrum while O2 spent the most in total for 4G and 5G bands

Ofcom has today (April 5) announced all four major UK operators have spent a combined  £1.35 billion coming out as successful bidders at the spectrum auction.

US firm Airspan Spectrum Holdings walked away with no successful bid.

In the bid for 3.4GHz spectrum which is earmarked for 5G in two years time: Hutchison 3G won 20MHz of 3.4 GHz spectrum for £151.2m, EE took 40MHz at a cost of £302.5m, O2 spent £317.7m for 40MHz and Vodafone topped the 5G band spend with £378.2m for 50Mhz.

O2 additionally secured all remaining 2.3GHz spectrum, 40MHz for £205.8m. The operator will switch on the acquired 2.3GHz spectrum within 24 hours of Ofcom making them available to upgrade 4G coverage first in London with Edinburgh, Newcastle and Leeds to follow in the coming months.

The auction will now move to an assignment stage where winners from stage one will bid to decide where in the frequency bands their new spectrum will be located.

O2 CEO Mark Evans said: “We’ve thrown down a major marker for our future commitment to the UK. Our investment in 3.4GHz enables us to move forward to further improve connectivity whilst boosting the economy and laying the foundations for 5G in Britain”

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