Rationalizing the 3.4-3.8 GHz Spectrum in the United Kingdom
13 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2019
Date Written: November 27, 2018
We argue that in advance of auctioning the UK's remaining unallocated spectrum in 3.6-3.8 GHz, Ofcom has the opportunity to adopt a band-restructuring framework that gives all wireless providers the option of acquiring the necessary spectrum to use this first 5G band to its full potential. The core element of the framework would be to guarantee that post-auction holdings are assigned to contiguous frequencies within the entire 3.4-3.8 GHz band for every licence holder regardless of when and how that spectrum was allocated. In this paper, we propose a detailed framework for rationalizing holdings in the 3.4-3.8 GHz band. The main component of the framework is an auction mechanism to determine post-auction frequency assignments by minimizing relocation costs. We discuss variations of this basic idea as well as alternatives. This framework is related to the band-restructuring frameworks that have become more common as regulators seek to reconfigure, reallocate, and re-purpose spectrum holdings in response to changes in demand and technology.
Keywords: Spectrum Auction, Band Restructuring, Degfragmentation, 5G, United Kingdom, Ofcom
JEL Classification: D44
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation