Connexin no longer taking part in UK 5G spectrum auction
19 March 2018 | Natalie Bannerman
Connexin Limited, the fixed wireless company, has pulled out of the UK 5G spectrum auction just days before it is due to take place.
UK telecoms regulator Ofcom recently published the date for the auction as 20 March, including a list of the six bidder due to take part. Names included: Three UK, BT (through mobile arm EE), Vodafone, Telefonica UK (O2) and two smaller players, Connexin Limited and Airspan Spectrum Holdings Limited.
No official reason for the withdrawal has been given but Connexin was originally happy to have qualified as a bidder, with its CEO Furqan Alamgir, having said: “This is great news for Connexin. It’s an opportunity to build on our position at the forefront of next generation mobile technology. Ofcom’s green light to take part in the auction is validation that Connexin is qualified to operate at the highest level. We will be formally confirming with Ofcom in the coming days that Connexin will indeed take part.”
According to Ofcom’s sale plans 40MHz of spectrum in the 2300MHz band and 150MHz in the 3.4GHz band is set to be on offer, with the process lasting for a number of weeks.
The 5G spectrum auction has suffered a number of setbacks, delays to the auction were caused by EE and Three who took the UK regulator to court over caps its placed on spectrum buying. Under the new rules introduced by Ofcom, mobile operators are only permitted to own 37% of usable spectrum by the year 2020 rather than the smaller 30% that Three were asking for. Currently, BT/EE holds 42% of the current amount. Vodafone holds around 29%, while Three owns 15% and O2 owns 14%.
Both EE and Three lost its appeals in December, following which Three attempted one last ditch attempt at an appeal by taking the regulator to the Court of Appeal in London but had its bid rejected.
A number of notable figures and companies in the industry have been vocal on the necessity of the auction and the speed at which it needs to happen.
Telefónica’s O2 UK said that is it “imperative that we move forward and hold the auction as soon as possible."
Vodafone’s Nick Jeffery, has been very critical of delays to auction saying: "Any operator that is delaying the implementation of 5G, either through slightly selfish objectives or wider concerns that delay the implementation of 5G in anyway is bad for the country."