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Ofcom announces winners of 2.34 billion 4G spectrum auction

News by Andrew Kameka on Wednesday February 20, 2013.

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British communication regulator Ofcom has completed the auction of airwaves necessary for wireless operators to develop their 4G LTE networks, and the five winners of spectrum have collectively bid more than GBP 2.34 billion. The bidding process had been delayed and heavily criticized since Ofcom granted permission to EE to launch its 4G network several months ahead of competing networks. The regulator accelerated the auction to appease critics and concluded the process that will see 4G service reach "almost the whole UK population" by 2017.

Telefonica UK (O2) won the 2x10 MHz of 800 MHz spectrum, which comes with a coverage obligation that the operator provides service to at least 98 percent of the UK population indoors, 99 percent outdoors, and 95 percent of each individual UK nation by the end of 2017. Telefonica paid GBP 550 million.

Everything Everywhere Ltd. (EE) won the 2 x 5 MHz of 800 MHz and 2 x 35 MHz of 2.6 GHz spectrum for GBP 588.87 million. EE notes that when paired with its existing 1800MHz spectrum, the company will be able to improve speed and coverage as the largest spectrum holder in the UK (40 percent of available spectrum).

Hutchison 3G (Three) won the 2 x 5 MHz of 800 MHz spectrum for GBP 225 million. Three secured about 13 percent of available spectrum.

Niche Spectrum (BT) won the 2 x 15 MHz of 2.6 GHz and 1 x 20 MHz of 2.6 GHz for GBP 186.47 million. The winning bids were for unpaired airwaves.

Vodafone Ltd (Vodafone) won the 2 x 10 MHz of 800 MHz, 2 x 20 MHz of 2.6 GHz, and 1 x 25 MHz of 2.6 GHz (unpaired) spectrum. Vodafone was the biggest spender by paying GBP 790.76 million to secure what amounts to 31 percent of available spectrum.

source: Ofcom, EE

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Andrew Kameka
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.

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