The auction of the 4G mobile spectrum which was epxected to raise upwards of £3.5 billion for the treasury has fallen short of its aims, only generating £2.3 billion – just over 10 per cent of what was paid by mobile providers back in 2000 for portions of the 3G spectrum.
In some ways that’s to be expected, as the jump from 2G to 3G was more dramatic than the move from 3G to 4G in terms of added functionality – even though the percentage speed increase is potentially far higher. However it’s likely to have been a pleasing turnout for the providers themselves, as their pockets get to remain deep for the time being.
In an interesting turn of events however, the smallest UK network, Three, did much better than expected. While it has been outbid in other European countries, here it managed to secure a fair share of the spectrum, along with the other big providers, O2, Vodafone and Everything Everywhere (formerly T-Mobile and Orange).
BT was also part of the auction, but has no plans to offer 4G mobile broadband and will instead make use of the spectrum in specific locations, according to the Guardian.
Describing the auction, Ofcom – the governing body that handled the auction – head Ed Richards said, “This is a positive outcome for competition in the UK, which will lead to faster and more widespread mobile broadband, and substantial benefits for consumers and businesses across the country. We are confident the UK will be among the most competitive markets in the world for 4G services.”
The 4G auction was often delayed because of bickering between mobile providers about the way it should be handled, but once T-Mobile and Orange merged to become EE and it used some of its ageing 2G spectrum for 4G services, the others quickly agreed in order to not fall too far behind on data offerings.
KitGuru Says: Good to see this finally going through as it should mean much better coverage for the UK in terms of high speed and standard speed wireless data transfer – great news for rural communities.