5G auction raises £1.35bn from mobile networks

Four major networks sweep the board with bids of up to £378m

The UK's mobile networks have handed over a total of 1.35 billion to the telecoms regulator, Ofcom, to get their hands on a slice of radio spectrum to use for 5G networks.

The amount raised is around 350 million more than anticipated at the start of the auction and up to twice the pence per MHz per capita price expected, according to the Financial Times.

The biggest spender was Vodafone, which threw 378 million on a 50Mhz slice of the spectrum, followed by O2, which spent 317.7 million on a 40Mhz. EE, BT's mobile network operation, put down 302.6 million also on a 40Mhz slice, while Three which had taken Ofcom to court to demand a 30Mhz cap per network spent 151 million for 20Mhz.

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Airspan Spectrum Holdings, which had been cleared to join the auction by Ofcom in March, failed to secure any part of the spectrum from the auction.

In addition to the 5G auction, Ofcom also opened up some spectrum in the 2.3Ghz range for use with 4G signals, which was snapped up in its entirety by O2. The operator is currently owned byTelefnica,but could be put up for sale now that its assets in terms of radio spectrum access are more clear, according to the FT.

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Although the wavelengths designated for 5G have been determined by Ofcom and apportioned through the auction, that doesn't mean we'll be seeing 5G on offer as a commercial product any time soon. While draft specs have been drawn up, the technology is still in the research and development phase, with no devices currently on the market that can use it either.

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