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Ofcom announce the 4G auctions bidders
Thursday 20 December 2012 11:05:21 by John Hunt

Ofcom has today announced the bidders who will be taking part in the 4G mobile spectrum auctions which will start in January 2013. Seven bidders have expressed an interest in acquiring spectrum to enable them to roll out faster mobile broadband services in the UK using LTE or WiMAX technology. In total, 250 MHz of mobile spectrum is being auctioned - a huge proportion of additional capacity considering that 333 MHz is in use today.

  • Everything Everywhere Limited (UK)
  • HKT (UK) Company Limited (a subsidiary of PCCW Limited)
  • Hutchison 3G UK Limited
  • MLL Telecom Ltd
  • Niche Spectrum Ventures Limited (a subsidiary of BT Group plc)
  • Telefónica UK Limited
  • Vodafone Limited

As the auctions are for spectrum in both the 800MHz and 2.6GHz frequency bands not all seven bidders will be fighting over the same spectrum. The main mobile operators (EE, O2, Three and Vodafone) will be looking to acquire spectrum in the 800MHz band whilst the other bidders may be looking to use the 2.6GHz band. Should all spectrum be sold at the reserve price, Ofcom should net £1.3 billion, but this is likely to run higher with estimates of £4-£6 billion being touted.

Bidders have until January 4th to withdraw from the auction if they wish, but they would lose their £100,000 deposit.


Posted by tthom over 4 years ago
Typo alert... Other other bidders
Posted by hypertony over 4 years ago
I think this should be made faierer if Ofcom doee not allow EE to bid on this until later because Ofcom allowed them to have the 4G network very early.

Making this more fair for other networks...
Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago
Looks like BT is getting in their to cover their obligations for BB via a 4G solution.
Posted by c_j_ over 4 years ago
Oh look, PCCW again. Is there a "use it or lose it" clause in the Ts and Cs this time? Based on PCCW's appalling failure to actually roll out any meaningful service following post-auction adjustment of the Fixed Wireless Access licences last time round, there ought to be. (and many others)

Posted by chrysalis over 4 years ago
I dont think 250 is huge or am I looking at it wrong? if eg. 4G is 4x faster than 3G then if its not at least 4x as much spectrum wont it congest more?
Posted by chrysalis over 4 years ago
do other countries have similiar auctions? ofcom should realise if they spending 4billion+ to get the spectrum then thats going to lead to a repeat of ripoff 3G prices on 4G. As they have to recoup that 4 billion.
Posted by herdwick over 4 years ago
yes, auctions have been used in a number of countries. Economic theory says a well designed auction gets you the most money. Nobody is forced to bid to a particular level, they should have a "walk away" price just like using Ebay.
Posted by herdwick over 4 years ago
250 MHz is huge given that we use 333 MHz now. It's like an 80% increase.
Posted by otester over 4 years ago
As long as 3 gets a decent amount I'll be happy, maybe some new players as well, O2/Voda/EE represent mediocrity.


I thought their high pricing was what allowed them to launch earlier?

Posted by mitchja over 4 years ago
Pricing has nothing to do with it. Both O2 & Voda have now come out and said they WILL be charging a premium for 4G. How else will they pay all this auction money back?
Posted by vicdupreez over 4 years ago
I wish this country would decide that enough is enough and do something about this crap... 450k to someone at the BBC to walk away after 50 odd days... and we all still pay our TV license... 4 odd billion, for what... where is that cash going? I know where it will be coming from... but where will it be going? Bet your backsie you and I will not see any benefit from it... Fed up with this place...
Posted by vicdupreez over 4 years ago
and I mean country... not website :D
Posted by farnz over 4 years ago
@chrysalis You're missing a crucial bit of information - spectral efficiency of each technology.

For a given chunk of spectrum, a new technology can reduce the congestion level by either giving you more bits per second in that spectrum, or by letting you pack cellsites in closer together. LTE is both better at bits/Hz/site than 3G and is better at running very low power sites (so you can pack sites closer together).
Posted by normcall over 4 years ago
Look at DAB/DVB
Reduce the bit rate until most will accept it and call it 'high quality'.
About the processing power required when we are supposed to be reducing our requirement, not a word!
Posted by otester over 4 years ago

Don't watch TV then...
Posted by callum9999 over 4 years ago
@vicdupreez - Then do us all a favour and go to the mythical country where the bosses of it's biggest organisations don't get large pay-outs and there is no TV license...

And what on earth do you not understand? £4 billion for the right to use the spectrum. Baring in mind the 3G auction raised £22 billion, that doesn't seem remotely unreasonable to me. Plus of course, it's an auction - no-one is being forced to pay that much for it...
Posted by otester over 4 years ago

I think it's unreasonable that it gets dumped into the bottomless pit that is the government, much rather see operators bid x amount and then use that amount to cover network infrastructure.
Posted by fredforest over 4 years ago
@hypertony EE weren't given any early 4G spectrum at all. They used the existing 2G spectrum to introduce 4G.
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