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Ofcom wants to quadruple 4G license fees

If you thought 4G data prices were bad now, wait until you hear this: Ofcom, the UK communications regulator wants to quadruple the price of licensing 4G signal bands for networks. If the network is going to be paying 4 times more, it’d be safe to assume customers would also have to face a hike in their fees.

This year the 4G spectrum auction brought in £1.2 billion less than Chancellor George Osbourne had hoped it would, even though nothing is final yet, consumers can expect to suffer the consequences. Here’s a breakdown of what each network will be paying:

  • EE’s 4G license fee would rise from £24.9 million to £107.1 million
  • Vodafone and O2 would be in the same boat with fees rising from £15.6 million to £83.1 million
  • Three’s license fee would go from £8.3 million to £35.7 million

That is quite a price jump for all networks and could have a major effect on the growth of 4G infrastructure in the country and in turn have a wide spread effect on 4G adoption.

Uswitch.com’s Adam Kirby had this to say:

“The proposed new costs reflect a huge leap in the amount networks will have to pay the regulator for using the spectrum – our concern is that it will be consumers who are left to foot the bill.”

A representative for Vodafone has also spoke out:

“We are disappointed that Ofcom is proposing a 430% increase in the fees we pay for our existing spectrum at a time when we are investing more than ever in vital national digital infrastructure. The regulator should be encouraging such private sector investment in infrastructure and new services like 4G, which will benefit consumers, businesses and the wider British economy for many years to come.”

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This move will likely face wide opposition not only from the networks themselves but from business experts and consumers as this could throw a wrench in the works of 4G development for years to come.

KitGuru Says: 4G was already quite limited in it’s reach across the country so far, it’s also a lot more expensive than a standard 3G plan. My biggest worry would be for the network Three, which was promising no price differences between 3G and 4G and simply upgrading its customers but if this hike in prices goes through it could ruin Three’s consumer friendly approach.

Source: Tech Radar

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