UK mobile operators win appeal over annual licence fees for mobile spectrum

The UK’s Court of Appeal today upheld an appeal by mobile network operators (MNOs) against communications regulator Ofcom’s decision to increase annual licence fees (ALFs) for mobile spectrum.

In September 2015, Ofcom proposed to increase the total ALF paid by MNOs for existing holdings of 900 MHz and 1800 MHz spectrum from £64 million to £200 million. These proposals followed a two-round consultation process which resulted in a 20% reduction in the higher licence fees originally proposed by Ofcom. Frontier advised stakeholders involved in the consultation process.

The Court of Appeal has now upheld a challenge by the MNOs which was based on the relative significance of a Government direction requiring Ofcom to set ALFs to reflect the full market value of spectrum. Ofcom will now have to consult further on plans for ALF.

Frontier regularly advises companies and regulators on spectrum pricing and licensing.

For more information, please contact Saskia Nett on, or call +44 (0)20 7031 7000.

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