Review of Ofcom’s market-based approach to mobile spectrum management
At the Government’s request, we have undertaken a review of our market based approach to allocating mobile spectrum licenses.
Our review considered a broad range of information, including:
- the potential alternatives and international experience in allocating and charging for mobile spectrum
- our past Annual Licence Fee (‘ALFs’) decisions
- historical spectrum trades as well as responses to the related consultations on these topics
We've also had regard to emerging approaches in allocating and charging for spectrum using third party international spectrum research and input from the mobile operators and their advisors.
Current ALFs were set recently, in 2018 and 2021. A revision of the precise levels of specific ALFs was outside the scope of this review because there is already an existing, separate, process for considering this. If there is sufficient evidence of a possible material misalignment between our fees and the underlying market value of the relevant spectrum, we will review the precise levels of ALFs. We welcome further engagement with the operators if there is new evidence on the market value of the spectrum that would support a misalignment review.
We retain an open mind and flexibility on the best approaches to meet our various duties, and will continue to consider, on a case-by-case basis, whether fixed term licences, indefinite licences, or other approaches are appropriate when we award licences for mobile spectrum.
The document below is our response to the Government's request, sent to the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology on 21st December 2023.