Operators including Everything Everywhere are poised to sell off some of their current spectrum after Ofcom this week (20 June) gave the go-ahead for networks to trade the rights to their spectrum
The new regulations, which cover spectrum at 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2100MHz, are aimed at giving operators added flexibility as the data crunch hits.
According to reports, Everything Everywhere will be selling 25% of its 1800MHz spectrum, valued at £450m.
At a Government forum earlier this week (21 June), Everything Everywhere CFO Richard Moat said: ‘As part of the remedies of the EU and the authorities that allowed the merger to happen we have to sell spectrum. I don’t know the value of this spectrum, but this can only be determined when the spectrum auction has been finalised.’
It is understood that some of the profit made from the sale could go to Everything Everywhere’s parent groups, France Telecom and Deutche Telekom.
Moat said: ‘The key is not to take away disposable money. We are here and need to invest in a new network and the new licenses Ofcom will organise very soon. Our priority is to be in a position to invest. These proceeds, should we keep them, will be used to acquire more network.’
He added: ‘If you look at our spectrum holdings we have one of the lowest, so we have to maintain that spectrum per customer, especially as there is a huge growth in data expected over the next 10 years. With the proceeds we can buy a small percentage of spectrum. We don’t have any 800MHz, so we have to build that from scratch.’
As part of a wider initiative to promote improvements in mobile services, the Government directed Ofcom to make mobile spectrum licences tradable in December 2010. Ofcom has now drawn up the necessary regulationsfor this to happen.
Ofcom will be responsible for the administration of spectrum trades – publishing the details of proposed trades online, confirming that they are acceptable, and then issuing revised licences to implement the trades.
Under the regulations, Ofcom must take into account whether competition is likely to be distorted before deciding whether or not to consent to a trade of mobile spectrum.