We have established expertise in all aspects of spectrum advice, from economic and strategic thinking through to engineering and coexistence work. We can help regulators understand how spectrum can be used and how to award it, mobile operators assess the value of spectrum and its impact on network planning, broadcasters rationalise and better utilise their spectrum portfolios, and other users argue for changes to regulations that assist with their use. We can advise on the processes and technical regulations that need to be followed.

Spectrum valuation

We use a wide variety of tools and methodologies to estimate the value of spectrum.  These include:

Direct benchmarking
drawing upon our established database of auction results from around the world
Adjusted benchmarking
which takes account of differences in spectrum capabilities and country differences
Econometric benchmarking
using advanced statistical models to understand the drivers of spectrum value and using these in predictions
Avoided cost modelling
which examines network architectures with and without spectrum award to understand the incremental value
Iterated cost modelling
using a dynamic approach to market modelling with a set equilibrium
Full enterprise value models
examining the total profit that can be expected from spectrum awards

Our advice has been used to set reserve prices, develop bidding strategies for operators, formulate annual fees based on opportunity cost, and determine one-off payments in beauty contests. Outputs from our valuation work have also been used within the scope of cost-benefit analysis and impact assessments.

Spectrum awards and licensing

We advise regulators on the best way to approach the award of spectrum – be it through auctions or beauty contests, with or without spectrum caps and obligations, technology-neutral or service-dependent. We assist operators and other users in evaluating and assessing the impacts of award designs, including competitor analysis, bidding strategy, and award structure. Utilising local and international law firms, we have helped regulators set out spectrum licences and understand the impact of restrictions and obligations in these.

We also help regulators carry out fee reviews for different spectrum uses to ensure that the structure of fees are in line with the promotion of efficient spectrum use and other regulatory objectives.  We can help our clients understand the impact of different fee levels, and the incentives that result from different frameworks.  Our understanding of economic and behavioural theory can help regulators design the most efficient fee structure, and operators react to regulation that has been put in place.

Spectrum policy

We have advised governments and regulators on how to manage the release of spectrum, ranging from assistance with the award process to more strategic questions over how to determine the most efficient and appropriate use of specific bands. We have assisted operators and industry bodies in formulating arguments for the re-allocation and release of spectrum, and developing the roadmap for doing so. Our staff have been instrumental in helping governments and regulators establish frameworks for spectrum management and spectrum pricing. We have also been actively involved in international discussions on the use of spectrum sharing and secondary markets.

Coexistence and monitoring

We have produced reports and analysis on how spectrum can be used by multiple services at once, and how use of spectrum on adjacent bands may cause interference. Our work on radiospectrum engineering enables us to provide a complete solution to policy makers looking to understand the impact of regulations and changes of use. We provide advice to regulators on how to establish a robust monitoring framework and also carry out field testing ourselves. Alongside this, we work with operators and manufacturers on measuring the performance of equipment and assessing how this will impact on interference.


Tim Miller

Tim Miller

Tim Miller is a Partner at Plum and specialises in the application of economic theory to telecommunications issues, with a particular focus on regulation, competition, and spectrum policy and strategy.   His advice has been used by operators to lobby for changes to regulation, and by operators to form regulatory policy and strategy.

Tim has developed models and analytical tools for operators, regulators and governments around the world to assess the value of spectrum and how it should be awarded.  He has also provided advice on how spectrum may be used from both a technical and regulatory perspective in mobile and fixed networks.  His work considers the analysis of markets and company interactions, both in terms of their impact on spectrum awards and on regulation in general.  He is adept at applying established regulations to emerging markets, particularly those in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, but is keen to develop new regulatory thinking to reflect the changing nature of today’s telecommunications markets, applied to markets worldwide.

Tim has applied game theory to market interactions to enable operators and regulators to understand likely outcomes of decisions, and how to mitigate against unwanted effects.  His work has also included mobile broadband regulation, the estimation of demand for data traffic, economic impact and cost benefit analyses, the pricing of regulated services, broadcasting cost models, undersea cable disputes, mobile number portability, universal service cost calculations, and  structural separation.

Tim has an MSc in Economics from the University of Bristol, specialising in auction and game theory, and a BSc in Economics and Mathematics from the same institution.