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Ofcom Propose Annual Licence Fees for the 2100MHz Mobile Band

Wednesday, July 14th, 2021 (10:41 am) - Score 864
mobile mast vector

The UK telecoms and media regulator, Ofcom, has today published its proposals on the annual licence fees for spectrum licences in the 2100MHz band, which was originally auctioned off in April 2000 to support the deployment of 3G mobile (mobile broadband) networks for the eye watering sum of £22.5 billion.

The original auction applied a fixed licence term of 20 years, to deliver 3G services. The licences, which are currently held by EE (BT), Vodafone, O2 (VMO2) and Three UK, include both paired and unpaired spectrum. But in 2011, and following a UK Government direction, Ofcom varied the terms of these licences to make them indefinite and to require the payment of annual licence fees from 1st January 2022.

The UK Government direction requires Ofcom to set annual licence fees that reflect the full market value of the spectrum, which is what the regulator has today attempted to deliver. We should point out that in 2013 the 2100MHz band was extended for us alongside faster 4G networks (here), which operators like EE have already adopted.

Ofcom’s Statement

We propose:

• that, whilst the paired and unpaired spectrum will both be useable for the deployment of mobile services on a forward-looking basis, they have different technical characteristics which mean that they will not necessarily have the same market value;

• to set an annual licence fee of £0.567m per MHz for paired 2100 MHz spectrum and £0.290m per MHz for unpaired 2100 MHz spectrum; and

• that the annual licence fees would apply from 1st January 2022, with an option to pay across ten equal monthly instalments.

Ofcom aims to publish their decision and fee regulations by the end of 2021. We are currently seeking the views of mobile operators and will report back on that later.

2100MHz_Spectrum_Holdings_UK_July_2021

UPDATE 4:47pm

At the time of writing most operators would only say that they’re still studying Ofcom’s proposals and are not yet ready to comment.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
5 Responses
  1. Zakir Hussain says:

    the pandemic that caused the country now the government is looking at ways it can recoop money.

    Does that mean for consumers in future we might pay more.

    Currently Three network and smarty (Three network who run it) are the cheapest network.

    1. anonymous says:

      Great. With a hint of sarcasm, all networks will ditch use of the band to use slower bands.

      Three’s slow speeds (in majority of areas) coming to all networks soon…..unless you pay a high speed add-on fee….Oh isn’t this similar to the 4GEE MAX plan from EE. Uncanny….

    2. Mike says:

      One thing for sure, it won’t be the cell companies paying the fees.

  2. Spurple says:

    The licence fees will simply be passed on to consumers. We can expect UK mobile services to become even more expensive.

    This is just a sneaky way to raise the fees each year.

  3. Buggerlugz says:

    It don’t matter, with soaring inflation over the next few years catching up with us all a loaf of bread will cost £10 soon enough, so the choice of either eating or having that mobile phone contract will make the choice far easier.

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