Updated 0900 GMT
Ofcom's auction of 4G spectrum has today reached an end, making what some spectators have deemed a disappointing £2.34bn. The governmental Office for Budget Responsibility is expected to be disatisfied with the total figure raised by the sale, as predictions forecast the auction would make £3.5bn. Not only did the auction make far less than forecast, but the sale of 4G licences made considerably less than the 3G auction's £22bn back in 2000.
We anticipated that the big names in the mobile network industry would be successful in the bid, and the eventual winners emerged as EE
, Telefonica (o2
), Hutchinson 3G UK, and Niche Spectrum Ventures.
The most important outcome of today's auction for consumers is that 4G spectrum will be made far more accessible to users who are connected to networks other than EE.
Updated 0630 GMT
Today we will hear from Ofcom the results of the bidding war for 4G licences. We may have seen this all before with the launch of 3G but there are serious implications that will be tied to the results.
The reason for this is due to the availability of two different frequencies, 800MHz and 2.6GHz. The 2.6GHz spectrum has serious advantages over the 800MHz spectrum with this wavelength travelling out for roughly 10 times the distance. This will really come into its own over rural areas and offer a truly national coverage.
It is currently expected that O2, Vodafone and EE will split the valuable 2.6GHz licences while Three is likely to fall short with licences only to the lower spectrum. If this were the case would you really pick your 4G phone and connect with Three?
For consumers today’s news will pass only with a flicker of interest but the winning headline is that Vodafone, O2 and Three may be offering 4G services from as early as May or June this year.