Ofcom launches consultation on spectrum licence fee changes

20 February 2015 |


UK regulator Ofcom has launched a consultation to determine whether a new obligation to extend mobile phone coverage should affect operators’ annual spectrum licence fees.

Under the revised rules agreed between the government and mobile network operators in December 2014, operators are required to provide geographic voice coverage across 90% of the UK landmass by the end of 2017.

The regulator said that while there could be incremental costs to the mobile operators in meeting the obligation, it is unlikely to have a material effect on the market value of the 900MHz and 1,800MHz spectrum bands.

In 2010, the government directed Ofcom to revise fees for the 900MHz and 1,800MHz spectrum bands to reflect full market value, after the completion of the 4G auction.

Ofcom has also set out provisional decisions on the revised licence fees, subject to the results of a consultation. Under the proposal, the total annual fees paid by operators would amount to £223 million, a 10% decrease from previous proposals in August last year.

The consultation ends April 17, after which Ofcom will make its final decision on the revised annual licence fees.