Ofcom wants to cut spectrum licence fees for mobile operators

Ofcom wants to drop the spectrum licence fees mobile phone networks pay to deliver their services , which could see network operators paying up to 10 per cent less to the government than previously planned.

The regulator said it would launch another consultation into how to change the charges for companies using 900MHz and 1800MHz spectrum, taking into account the coverage agreement the networks signed with the government to boost rural connections.

Although EE and 3 only use the 1800MHz band, while Vodafone and O2 hold licences for both the 900MHz and 1800MHz one, EE has expressed disappointment at the plans.

"While we fully support the government's work to get more coverage to more parts of UK, we're disappointed to see that Ofcom's current proposal fails to recognise the obvious costs associated with doing this, and note this could risk future network investment if not properly addressed. We'll examine the consultation more closely and respond in due course," the company said in a statement.

Ofcom has been pushing to launch such a consultation since the 4G auction in February 2013. In August it announced the fees networks pay would be increased substantially, but this has now been reduced to 223 million per year - around 10 per cent lower than previously proposed.

The regulator said in the statement the the price drop was "a reduction in the discount rate that Ofcom considers to be appropriate when converting a lump-sum value' (of the type paid by licensees when they acquire a licence in an auction) into an equivalent annual payment", and a "reduction in the assessment of the market value of the 1800 MHz band (expressed as a lump-sum value)."

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.