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Paving the way for improved 5G and innovative new wireless services

Published: 8 November 2023
Last updated: 8 November 2023

Ofcom is today setting out the design of the auction for awarding licences for millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum.

In September, Ofcom confirmed that it will open the 26 GHz and 40 GHz spectrum bands to mobile technology, including 5G services.

As well as improving mobile services – particularly capacity and speeds in cities and major towns – mmWave spectrum could also enable innovative wireless applications requiring large amounts of data, very high speeds, or both.

Auction design

Three categories of spectrum lots will be auctioned:

  • 26 GHz lower (25.1-26.5 GHz);
  • 26 GHz upper (26.5-27.5 GHz); and
  • 40 GHz (40.5-43.5 GHz).

Each lot will comprise of a block of 200 MHz. Reserve prices will be £2m for each lot of 26 GHz lower and 26 GHz upper, and £1m for each lot of 40 GHz.

The auction will be run in two stages. The principal stage – which will be a clock auction – will decide the quantity of spectrum each bidder will be allocated. This will be followed by an assignment stage which will decide the precise frequencies allocated to each winner.

Having assessed the available evidence, we do not propose to include a negotiation period for winners to agree that their respective allocations will be adjacent in the assignment stage. We will, however, consider any further evidence – which must be submitted to us by 9 January 2024 – before reaching a final decision on this aspect of the auction design.

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