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Ofcom announces 4G spectrum winners in the UK, snags less cash than expected

Richard Lawler, @Rjcc
February 20, 2013
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UK regulator Ofcom has revealed the winners of its 4G spectrum auction after more than 50 rounds of bidding: EE, Hutchison 3G (Three), BT subsidiary Niche Spectrum Ventures, Telefonica (O2) and Vodafone. It wasn't all good news however, as the agency revealed the auction only roped in £2.4 billion pounds, less than the £3.5 billion it had anticipated. Left on the outside looking in? MLL Telecom and HKT Company. Interestingly enough it was Vodafone -- headed by CEO Vittorio Colao who famously suggested only "technofreaks" were into 4G speed -- that spent the most.

The idea is to spread high speed wireless across "almost the whole" UK population by 2017 at the latest, and the auction's intent was to create more competition in the space. Telefonica UK specifically is required to provide indoor reception to at least 98 percent of the population by then, as a condition of its bid. As seen above, the available 250MHz of spectrum was auctioned off in two separate bands, 800MHz (ideal for expanded coverage and freed up by the digital TV transition) and 2.6GHz more suited to high speed data connections. So what's next? You guessed it -- another round of bidding, to determine where in each band the winners spectrum lies, before services roll out in spring or summer of this year. Hit the source link to check out the full results for yourself and prepare for the 5G battle, expected to commence sometime after 2018.

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