More than 40 MPs have written to Ofcom urging the regulator to closely monitor the progress of mobile operators in fulfilling coverage obligations attached to 5G spectrum licences.
Ofcom’s next spectrum auction will see 700MHz and 3.6-3.8GHz airwaves made available to mobile operators in time for Spring 2020.
700MHz spectrum has long range and high indoor penetration, while 3.6-3.8GHz offers high capacity for 5G.
If an operator wins a package of spectrum with obligations attached, they will have to extend “good” mobile coverage to at least 90 per cent of the UK within four years, improve coverage for at least 140,000 homes and offices their networks don’t already cover, and provide coverage from at least 500 new sites.
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To reflect the investment required, Ofcom will discount the licences for spectrum carrying these rules by between £300 million and £400 million.