Ofcom has announced a cap on the amount of 5G mobile spectrum that can be bought by Vodafone and BT/EE.
The telecoms regulator is due to auction 40 MHz of spectrum in the 2.3GHz band and 150 MHz of spectrum in the 3.4GHz band. The second of these bands is currently unsupported by mobiles and tablets but is expected to be adopted by device makers in the future.
Each band will be subject to different auction rules aimed at ensuring strong competition in the UK’s mobile market.
BT and its EE mobile subsidiary will be banned from bidding for any of the “immediately useable” 2.3GHz capacity as its holdings already meet the maximum permissible level announced by Ofcom last November.
The regulator has today gone further and announced a “new, additional cap of 340 MHz on the overall amount of mobile spectrum a single operator can hold as a result of the auction.”
This has the effect of limiting Vodafone’s potential gains from the auction to a total of 160 MHz across both the bands.
Philip Marnick, Ofcom’s Spectrum Group Director, said: “Spectrum is a vital resource that fuels the UK’s economy.
“We’ve designed this auction to ensure that people and businesses continue to benefit from strong competition for mobile services.
“We want to see this spectrum in use as soon as possible. With smartphones and tablets using even more data, people need a choice of fast and reliable mobile networks.
“These new airwaves will support better services for mobile users, and allow operators to innovate and build for the future.”