Mobile operator to announce strategy for fixed wireless provider later this year.
3UK on Wednesday completed its £300 million acquisition of fixed wireless provider UK Broadband.
Under the deal, agreed in February, 3UK will pay £250 million plus two deferred payments of £25 million as a credit towards an MVNO agreement on 3’s network.
For the time being, it is business as usual for customers of UK Broadband’s fixed wireless service, Relish.
"There will be no immediate changes to the Relish wireless broadband operations or brand and Relish will continue to manage its 17,000 home and business customers," said 3UK, in a brief statement. "3UK will update the industry later this year on its plans for UK Broadband as it focuses its attention on the upcoming auction of mobile spectrum."
Indeed, telco regulator Ofcom plans to auction 190 MHz of frequencies in the 2.3 GHz and 3.4 GHz bands later this year.
As it stands, the watchdog has proposed restricting the amount of ‘immediately usable’ spectrum that any single operator can own to 255 MHz. For BT and its EE arm, which currently hold 45% of the U.K.’s available mobile spectrum, it means they would be barred from bidding for 2.3-GHz spectrum. Following the 2.3-GHz auction, BT and EE’s combined spectrum share will fall to 42%, provided all the airwaves are sold off.
3UK is adamant that this is still too much spectrum for any one operator, and is lobbying for a cap of 30%.
Regardless of how the upcoming auctions play out, 3UK’s UK Broadband acquisition significantly strengthens its spectrum portfolio.
UK Broadband holds 124 MHz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz and 3.6 GHz bands. It also holds spectrum in the 3.9 GHz, 28 GHz, and 40 GHz bands, which are currently used for point-to-point and point-to-multipoint wireless backhaul connectivity, but could one day conceivably be used for access networks.