New Proposals to Help Defragment the 3.4-3.8 GHz Band

Ofcom has announced revised proposals to help defragment the 3.4-3.8 GHz band, following next year’s auction of 3.6-3.8 GHz spectrum

The 3.4-3.8 GHz band is one of the primary bands for 5G in Europe. In the UK, companies currently hold blocks of spectrum in different parts of the band. This means that unless they trade their current holdings, the band is likely to remain fragmented after the forthcoming spectrum auction.

5G is likely to perform best using large, contiguous blocks of spectrum. So after considering responses to our December consultation on the 700 MHz and 3.6-3.8 GHz auction, we have set out revised proposals for measures to help defragment these airwaves.

The new Ofcom proposals include:

  • Introducing a negotiation phase during the assignment stage of the auction, where winners of 3.6-3.8 GHz spectrum will have the opportunity to agree the assignment of their spectrum between themselves. We are seeking views on whether these negotiations should require unanimous agreement from all winning bidders, or just a partial set of bidders.

  • Putting restrictions in place for the assignment stage, so bidders that win less than 20 MHz of 3.6-3.8 GHz spectrum can only bid for their spectrum to be at the top or bottom of the band.

Stakeholders’ views on these proposals are welcome by Wednesday 10 July. The final decision on the upcoming award of spectrum in the 700 MHz and 3.6-3.8 GHz band will be published later this year.

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