O2 and Vodafone are trading spectrum for a 5G boost

28 April 2021


Networks O2 and Vodafone came out of the recent 5G spectrum auction with a lot of new spectrum, and now they’re planning to make the most of it by trading some of their holdings with each other in order to build one contiguous block – or at least bring the spectrum closer together.

In total, O2 has 80MHz of 5G spectrum and Vodafone has 90MHz, but previously it wasn’t all linked up. With this trade O2’s will be, while Vodafone’s will be in “good proximity”.

The deal is subject to approval from Ofcom, and it’s not clear exactly which spectrum will be traded, but it sounds like both companies should significantly benefit.

Faster, greener, better

Having a block of contiguous spectrum can improve 5G performance, allowing for higher speeds and lower latency, as well as greener 5G services. Or as Mark Evans, CEO of O2, said as part of this announcement: “Securing contiguous blocks of spectrum is crucial to harnessing the true power of 5G.”

It’s something that Three has long been boasting about, as that network already has a 100MHz block of contiguous 5G spectrum, but now it seems other networks are starting to catch up.

Of course, 100MHz is still better than 80MHz, and in Vodafone’s case it sounds like the spectrum doesn’t quite link up, but it’s all a step in the right direction.

O2 claims that the trade will enable improved coverage indoors and outdoors, across urban, suburban and rural areas. The company even goes so far as to say that this move will create the industry’s fastest 5G indoor and outdoor speeds for customers. Though with Three having both more 5G spectrumnd a larger contiguous block we wouldn’t count on that.

Sub-Editor at 5G.co.uk

James is sub-editor at both 5G.co.uk and TechRadar. Also works as a researcher/ technical writer for 5G.co.uk and several other websites including TechRadar, T3, Smart TV Radar, 3G.co.uk with work on the web, in print and on TV.

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