Ofcom pushes ahead with spectrum auction

Ofcom is pressing ahead with its spectrum auction for future 5G services, despite the appeal from Three.

The regulator has updated the timetable for the forthcoming auction of spectrum in the 2.3 and 3.4 GHz bands as it believes it’s in the public interest to press ahead with the plans.

The auction has already been delayed by the action brought by Three and BT/EE – both of whose claims were dismissed by the High Court in December. EE/BT subsequently dropped the action but Three is continuing with its appeal, which is being heard on February 13 and 14.

There are two wavebands being auctioned: the 2.3GHz, which can be used for existing services and the 3.4GHz, which is aimed at future 5G offerings.


Ofcom said the regulations for the service auction will be published on January 24 and will come into effect on January 31. These regulations will include guidance in how to take part in the auction. However, the regulator said that it would not make any announcement on bidders until after the Three appeal had been heard.

In a statement, Ofcom said “The litigation by Three is continuing to delay access to the spectrum and the benefits to consumers and businesses that can flow from it. We are keen to ensure that we can move as quickly as possible to hold the auction once the judgment of the Court of Appeal has been given.”