BT’s EE network faces GBP25mln annual licence fee under Ofcom proposals


BT Group PLC‘s (LON:BT.A) mobile network arm EE is facing an annual licence fee of over GBP25mln under new proposals drawn up by the UK’s telecoms regulator.

On Wednesday, Ofcom proposed annual licence fees for spectrum within the 2100 megahertz (MHz) band, which was originally auctioned in 2000 with a fixed term of 20 years to operate 3G services.

READ: BT clinches deal with union members over modernisation plans

In 2011, the licence terms were altered to make them indefinite and require the payment of annual fees, an arrangement which is due to come into force on January 1 next year.

Ofcom said under the new arrangement it has proposed charging around GBP0.57mln per MHz for the 119.1 MHz of paired 2100 MHz spectrum and GBP0.29mln per MHz for the 20.1 MHz of unpaired 2100 MHz spectrum. It has also proposed raising the fees by consumer price inflation each year.

Aside from EE, other operators facing millions in annual licence costs include Vodafone Group PLC (LON:VOD), which would pay GBP16.8mln a year under the new rules, O2, which would pay GBP12.8mln and Three which would be charged GBP18.2mln.

Ofcom said it has opened a consultation on the proposed licence fee charges and will accept responses until 5pm on September 8.

Shares in BT fell 0.6% to 186p in late morning trading, while Vodafone was down 1.1% at 118p.


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