The coronavirus pandemic has put unprecedented strain on national networks – so much so that Vodafone is asking for the UK government to forgo its next 5G spectrum auction and simply allocate the spectrum at its reserve price to relieve the pressured networks…
The coronavirus pandemic has put unprecedented strain on national networks – so much so that Vodafone is asking for the UK government to forgo its next 5G spectrum auction and simply allocate the spectrum at its reserve price to relieve the pressured networks.
Vodafone argues that the additional spectrum is required to bolster the networks during a period of increased traffic due to mass working from home. However, most of the operators have reported their networks to be quite resilient in the face of the increased traffic, with little risk of wide scale errors or crashes.
Last month, Ofcom released the finalised rules for the upcoming spectrum auction, rejecting calls from some operators to help them consolidate their fragmented spectrum holdings. For now, the auction has not been postponed, as has been the case in numerous other countries such as France, Spain, and Portugal.
The auction is expected to raise over £1 billion, increasing the amount of spectrum available to the country’s four operators by 18%.
Vodafone’s suggestion to simply divvy up this spectrum would offer the nation’s operators spectrum at the cheapest possible rate, but it is not without its difficulties. Given the fragmented nature of most of the operators spectrum holdings, the specifics of how Ofcom would potentially allocate the different parts of the spectrum could be contentious, leaving some operators with more contiguous blocks than others.
Ofcom has yet to comment on this proposal.
How is the availability of 5G spectrum shaping the UK’s connectivity landscape? Find out from industry specialists at this year’s Connected Britain
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