Qualcomm sheds L-band spectrum to Vodafone UK, Three

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Qualcomm has agreed to sell its UK spectrum holding to Three and Vodafone in two separate transactions.

The chipmaker's Qualcomm UK Spectrum subsidiary is selling the entirety of its L-band spectrum in two 20MHz chunks.

L-band spectrum lies between 1552MHz and 1492MHz and can be used for supplemental downlink (SDL). The European Union harmonised and mandated the use of the spectrum in May 2015.

Qualcomm said that SDL can help with the likes of video on demand services amid high levels of demand. It can also be aggregated with licensed Frequency-Division Duplexing (FDD) spectrum.

A spokesperson said in a statement: "Both sales are subject to regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions. 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."

Qualcomm is keen to get rid of non-essential assets after it revealed a 40 percent slump in profits in its most recent trading quarter. It is also readying 15 percent job cuts and a move towards chips for low tier smartphones, as it faces pressure from Apple and Samsung at the high-end of the market. 

[Read more: EU to investigate possible market abuse by Qualcomm]

The UK spectrum landscape is set to be transformed by the pending mergers of BT and EE, and O2 and Three. Yesterday, Three CFO Richard Woodward said it expected to gain approval for the merger by the second quarter of next year at the earliest.

Both companies will be keen to use the spectrum to boost their network quality, with market leader EE deemed the UK's best performing network by RootMetrics.