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The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK), is a sovereign country in western Europe. Lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland, the United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state—the Republic of Ireland. The nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the United Kingdom, but are considered Crown Dependencies.
The UK claims sovereignty over fourteen British Overseas Territories, which are: Anguilla; Bermuda; the British Antarctic Territory; the British Indian Ocean Territory; the British Virgin Islands; the Cayman Islands; the Falkland Islands; Gibraltar; Montserrat; Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha; the Turks and Caicos Islands; the Pitcairn Islands; South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; and Akrotir and Dhekelia on the island of Cyprus.
The British Commonwealth, administered by the UK, consists of fifteen further independent nations.
United Kingdom is a member of the ITU and as such follows radio frequency harmonisation principles according to ITU-R Region-1. The regulatory body governing communications policy is the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), and the Office of Communications - Ofcom is charged with regulating the country's radio frequency spectrum activities such as planning, allocations, and licencing.
Ofcom conducted a 5G spectrum auction in April 2018 which saw all four national mobile network operators secure spectrum in the 3400 to 3600 MHz band. The awards were as follows:
- Three: 3460 to 3480 MHz (20 MHz)
- EE: 3540 to 3580 MHz (40 MHz)
- Vodafone: 3410 to 3460 MHz (50 MHz)
- O2: 3500 to 3540 MHz (40 MHz)
Operators such as Three UK were already holders of substantial mid-band spectrum who hold an additional 164 MHz of spectrum in the 3600 to 3680 MHz and 3925 to 4009 MHz (5G n77) ranges. Construction has since begun on a number of national 5G networks using the newly awarded spectrum, notably with O2 building a dual-band n40 + n78 5G network using 2.3 GHz spectrum it also secured during the auction.
Ofcom has planned a further spectrum auction to release 120 MHz of 5G mid-band spectrum from 3680 to 3800 MHz in 2019-2020.