Qualcomm agrees €139M L-band spectrum deal with Vodafone UK and Three UK

Qualcomm made good on its plan to auction off L-band spectrum owned by its Qualcomm UK Spectrum (QUKS) subsidiary, striking deals with Vodafone UK and Three UK worth at least £100 million (€139 million/$156 million).

The UK operators prospered at the expense of rivals EE and O2 UK in their bid to acquire the spectrum, which they plan to put towards providing mobile broadband services in the country, Digital Look reported, citing a Times article.

Qualcomm acquired the spectrum for £8.3 million in 2008, Digital Look added, but decided to sell in June after the European Commission (EC) approved the release of spectrum in the 1452 MHz to 1492 MHz frequency range as a supplemental downlink (SDL) for mobile networks.

At the time, the company told FierceWireless:Europe that it decided to sell because the EC decision harmonised and mandated the spectrum for mobile broadband SDL. UK regulator Ofcom also played a part in the decision, by amending mobile operators' licence terms to allow for SDL deployment, it said.

The regulator's approval of the deal to sell to Vodafone and Three will be required before the pair can begin to utilise the SDL, Digital Look reported, adding that it will be at least a year before compatible smartphones are available to utilise the high-frequency spectrum and for networks to be upgraded.

News of the L-band acquisition came shortly after Vodafone UK announced the nationwide rollout of a high speed fibre home broadband service.

The operator said the service is available to 22 million homes, offering data rates of up to 76 Mbps and a mobile app that enables consumers to control access to their broadband router from their mobile device, prioritise a particular mobile device, and focus their Wi-Fi signal to specific areas of their home.

Vodafone UK said three packages are available: Superfast Fibre+, the full 76 Mbps service priced at £25 per month; a 36 Mbps service named Superfast Fibre Broadband for £20 per month; and an ADSL based service offering speeds up to 17 Mbps for £10 per month -- all based on an 18 month subscription.

Existing subscribers will enjoy a £5 discount on those prices, and also receive half price services for the first 12 months.

For more:
- see this Digital Look report
- read this Times article (subscription required)
- see Vodafone UK's broadband announcement

Related articles:
Qualcomm seeks to cash in on L-band spectrum following EC SDL decision
Ofcom considers 2-pronged approach to 2.3 and 3.4 GHz award
Ofcom clears white space for launch; expects first services by year-end
Qualcomm snaps up Ikanos for $47M, expanding home gateway, IoT presence
GSMA tells Arab States to allocate UHF spectrum for mobile

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