UK regulator Ofcom has announced its proposed licence fees for Arqiva and Airwave’s 412–414 MHz and 422–424 MHz paired spectrum.

Communications infrastructure and smart meter specialist Arqiva won the spectrum in a 2006 auction, with a 15-year initial no-fee licence period.

Arqiva traded part of the spectrum with Airwave in 2008, to enable the mobile communications network used by UK emergency services to become co-licensee.

With the free license period set to expire in October of this year, Ofcom has proposed that the fee will be set at £1,584,000 per year. The regulator claimed that this is “in line with what business radio users pay for a UK-wide licence in nearby bands”.

A spokesperson for Ofcom said: “We have assessed whether there is likely to be excess demand for this spectrum in future, and have come to the provisional view that this is likely. We are therefore proposing to set an AIP [administered incentive pricing] fee.

“Our assessment is that business radio users are likely to be the highest value alternative users, and therefore this fee should reflect the opportunity cost to business radio users of not being able to use the spectrum. We are also consulting on draft regulations to give effect to these proposed fees. We invite any comments on the proposals by 16 July.”

Motorola-owned Airwave has a contract to supply the TETRA-based Airwave network to UK emergency services until December 2022.

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Author: Richard Hook