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Vodafone challenges 5G auction

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Vodafone has asked the UK government to cancel the 5G auction that gives mobile operators a space in the 5G spectrum.

Vodafone has done this in response to the announcement that all Huawei 5G tech must be removed from mobile networks, as well as the economic fallout from the Coronavirus crisis.

Instead of making mobile networks compete and bid for 5G mobile services, Vodafone says these services should instead be evenly distributed amongst the networks at a set price.

The 5G auction was originally planned to take place earlier this year in spring, but the COVID-19 situation led to it being postponed to an undetermined date next year.

The 5G auction has already created controversy with the networks. EE and Three previously launched legal challenges over Ofcom issuing a 37% limit on how much networks could bid for in a previous auction.

The government’s decision to ban Huawei's 5G kit and have all of the Chinese tech company’s 5G tech completely gone by 2027 has the potential to have a big impact on the UK’s 5G rollout.

It’s estimated that it could add up to £2 billion in extra costs as well as delay the rollout by a number of years.

What does the Huawei 5G ban mean for consumers? Find out here.

Speaking to the BBC, Vodafone chief executive Nick Jeffery said: "Now is the time to consider a new way to manage these auctions. Return on investment in telecoms in the UK is amongst the lowest in the world.”

"With additional money being taken out of the mobile industry from yesterday's decision on Huawei, now is the time to focus on ensuring operators can still afford to invest in the network this country deserves. There is little point in operators owning spectrum if we don't have the money to use it. History teaches us that from the 3G auctions."

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