O2 could delay UK’s 5G spectrum auction by up to 18 months, as it threatens legal action

Published: 5 May 2020 - 1:33 p.m.

The UK’s third largest mobile network operator, O2, is reportedly considering legal action against the UK’s forthcoming 5G spectrum auction, in a move that could delay the sale of 5G airwaves by up to 18 months.

The UK is due to auction off additional 5G spectrum in the 700MHz and 26GHz bands later this year, although the proposed auction is currently on hold, due to the current Covid 19 pandemic.

The much needed airwaves will help the UK’s mobile network operators to densify and build out their initial 5G offerings.

The UK’s mobile network operators had until the end of last week to inform the country’s telecoms regulator, Ofcom, whether they would be objecting to any of the proposed terms of the auction.

According to a report by the Financial Times, O2 has written to Ofcom to inform them that it would be raising legal objections to the terms of the auction.

Whilst O2 has not officially commented on the move, the company’s grievance is reported to be around the way in which Ofcom proposes to allocate spectrum.

Ofcom is proposing to allocate fragmented blocks of spectrum within the bands that are put up for sale, while O2 argues that the UK’s MNOs should be given the opportunity to bid on contiguous blocks of spectrum.

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