Qualcomm sells L-Band spectrum to Vodafone, Three

Qualcomm has today confirmed that its subsidiary, Qualcomm UK Spectrum (QUKS), agreed to sell the entirety of its UK L-Band spectrum (1452 – 1492 MHz) in two separate transactions, to Vodafone and Three.

According to a Qualcomm press release, both Vodafone and H3G have agreed to purchase 20 MHz of the spectrum each.

“L-Band spectrum can be used for Supplemental Downlink (SDL), helping Mobile Network Operators to meet the global demand for increased mobile data traffic”, it says in the press release. That basically means download-heavy services, such as video-on-demand, including the BBC iPlayer or YouTube can be delivered seamlessly to smartphone devices over a cellular data connection.

Vodafone also confirmed the deal, adding: “L-Band will complement Vodafone’s existing low frequency 800MHz spectrum which travels further and penetrates better through walls than other higher frequency 4G signals. The spectrum will be available until April 2029”, said Vodafone in a statement.

The deal is subject to regulatory scrutiny from telecom regulator Ofcom before it will be finalized. The regulator told The Register that “at this point we have not received a spectrum trading application from Qualcomm”.

Both QUKS and Vodafone and H3G will shortly submit respective applications to transfer the spectrum for UK communications regulator Ofcom approval. Details of the terms of the sales are not disclosed.

There was no mention of pricing in any of the press releases issued with this acquisition, but according to a report by The Register, it’s believed that the two networks paid over £100m in total for the spectrum. “The chip company rather lucked out, having paid £8.3m at auction in 2008”, it says.