British mobile network operators will be required to pay significantly higher fees to use spectrum in the 900MHz and 2100MHz bands following a final ruling from sector regulator Ofcom.
The telecoms watchdog has published revised annual fees, concluding that the UK’s cellcos should pay a combined annual total of GBP80.3 million (USD123 million) for the 900MHz band and GBP119.3 million for the 1800MHz band. While the total – GBP199.6 million – represents a significant increase from the GBP64.4 million the operators currently pay, Ofcom noted that it is 13% lower than the proposals it put forward in February this year.
Explaining its decision to revise its original plans, Ofcom said that the final levy for the 1800MHz band was 3% lower, reflecting a reduction in the ‘discount rate’ used to convert a ‘lump-sum value’ (of the type paid by licensees when they acquire a licence in an auction) into an equivalent annual payment. Meanwhile, the final charges for the 900MHz band, which are 24% lower than the February 2015 proposals, reflect the discount rate reduction and the prices paid in Germany’s spectrum auction, which concluded in June 2015.