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Ofcom triples licence fees for mobile operators to £200m

Move reflect importance of this ‘finite resource’, says regulator

Ofcom has tripled its spectrum use licences fees for O2, Vodafone, Three, and EE, pushing the figure to damn near £200m.

The regulator concluded that mobile operators should pay a combined annual total of £80.3m for the 900MHz band, and £119.3m for the 1800MHz band. The spectrum is used to provide voice, and data via 2G, 3G and 4G technologies.

As the largest holder of spectrum licences EE will pay the most at £75m per year, followed by £49.8m (each) by Vodafone and Telefonica (O2) and £25m by Three.

However, the final price hike is 13 per cent lower than Ofcom’s earlier proposals in February.

Philip Marnick, Ofcom’s group director of spectrum, said: “We have listened carefully to the arguments and evidence put forward by industry, and conducted a complex and comprehensive analysis to determine the new fees."

“The mobile industry has not previously had to pay market value for access to this spectrum, which is a valuable and finite resource, and the new fees reflect that value," he added.

Under the new regime, operators will now pay on a single date decided by Ofcom, as opposed to paying at different points of the year. The new fees come into effect in two phases: one half of the fees increase, from the current to the new rates, will come into effect on 31 October 2015.

The second half will come into effect on 31 October 2016, with full fees payable annually from that point.®

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