The principal stage of Ofcom’s 5G spectrum auction is now complete and it looks as though O2 has won the 40MHz spectrum on both the 2.3GHz (4G) and the 3.4GHz (5G) bands. The 5G bid cost the firm £317,720,000 and the 4G bid cost it £205,896,000 – O2 has the 2.3 GHz spectrum all to itself.
The new winnings bring O2’s existing 86Mhz of spectrum up to 166MHz, with 126MHz being usable right now (it’ll have to wait to use the 5G spectrum that it won). In stark contrast, Three did much more poorly, taking just 20MHz on the 3.4GHz spectrum after it paid £151,296,000 – this takes its existing 130MHz of spectrum up to 150MHz but only 90MHz is usable right now.
Vodafone managed to secure 50MHz of the 3.4GHz spectrum after paying £378,240,000, increasing its total spectrum to 226MHz which leaves it in a strong position when 5G is finally switched on. EE secured 40MHz on the 3.4GHz spectrum for £302,592,000 which increases its total spectrum from 255MHz up to a market leading 295MHz.
While Three flopped a bit in this auction, it has a chance to secure lots of 700MHz frequency spectrum which will be sold off at a later stage. With regards to the current spectrum auction, the winners will next have to determine where their new spectrum will be located in the frequency bands. Once they’ve done that, they will be awarded their spectrum licenses.