Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 5°C

ESTD 1874 Search

UK: BT to join mobile giants in 4G airwave auction

09:16 20 December 2012

The BT Centre in Newgate Street, London
Photo: Vismedia

The BT Centre in Newgate Street, London Photo: Vismedia

Giles Park / VisualMedia

BT will be among seven bidders competing in next year’s 4G auction in what marks the largest ever sale of mobile airwaves in the UK.

shares

Regulator Ofcom confirmed that mobile giants Vodafone, O2 parent Telefonica, Hutchison 3G and Everything Everywhere (EE) are also on the list, as well as Hong Kong conglomerate PCCW and UK network supplier MLL Telecom.

Ofcom said the auction, which kicks off in January, will herald “better, faster and more reliable mobile broadband connections” for consumers across the UK.

Ed Richards, chief executive of Ofcom, said: “The 4G auction will be a competitive process that will dictate the shape of the UK mobile phone market for the next decade and beyond.”

While all the UK’s major mobile operators are bidding, international player PCCW and MLL are also competing to secure a slice of 4G in Britain.

PCCW owns Hong Kong Telecom, while MLL is a private-equity backed firm based in Buckinghamshire that supports fixed and wireless services in the UK.

Bidders will be competing to buy airwaves in two separate bands - higher frequency 2.6 GHz and lower frequency 800 MHz - with around 28 lots of spectrum up for grabs in total.

EE, which was formed from the merger of Orange and T-Mobile, already has access to 4G and was the first to offer a 4G network in the UK, but is bidding to secure more airwaves in the sale.

BT has previously expressed interest in acquiring 2.6GHz frequencies to bolster its wi-fi offering, although it is not thought to have aspirations of becoming a major mobile player.

It is hoped the 4G sale will generate a windfall for the Government, following successful auctions in other countries.

Mobile operators in the Netherlands paid a total 3.8 billion euro (£3.1 billion) for the country’s 4G spectrum last Friday, easily surpassing expectations of around 450 million euro (£366 million). In Ireland last month, operators overcame a challenging economy to generate 854 million euro (£700 million).

Ofcom has placed a reserve price of £1.3 billion on the 4G sale, but the Government’s tax and spending watchdog this month estimated a £3.5 billion boost to the public finances.

The regulator wants at least four mobile wholesalers in the UK to drive competition in the market and said the auction had been designed to achieve this.

The watchdog said 4G services should make it much quicker to surf the web on mobiles, giving speeds close to home broadband services and allowing consumers to stream high-quality video, watching live TV and downloading large files.

For the typical user, download speeds of initial 4G networks will be at least five to seven times faster than those for existing 3G networks.

This means a music album that takes 20 minutes to download on a 3G phone will take just over three minutes on 4G.

shares

0 comments

The headquarters of Realise Futures in Ipswich.

Ipswich-based social enterprise Realise Futures has won a contract to provide supported employment services for adults with disabilities across a wide area of Essex.

Stage 5 of the Womens Tour passes through Onehouse on their way to Bury St Edmunds last year

Schoolchildren will also be involved in an evening of activities in Bury St Edmunds ahead of the start of a major women’s cycling event.

Paul Rous, of Bruisyard Hall, has launched a tech startup venture with Mark Pearson

A Suffolk entrepreneur has teamed up with a top technology investor, who made millions from a website he created with just £300, to help finance new ideas.

Cloud telecoms company X-on has launched Cuube, a new online communications services platform.

Cloud telecoms company X-on, based at the Framlingham Technology Centre, has launched Cuube, a new online communications services platform.

Jeremy Goulding, front, left, chief executive of Wheatley, is congratulated by Innovatioin Martlesham chair Ian Buxton on winning the first Innovationi Martlesham competition. Also pictured, from left, are Paul O'Brien of BT, Jane Bromley of Wheatley, Mike Ward of Wheatley and Mohamed Abdel-Maguid from University Campus Suffolk.

Software company Wheatley has been named winner of a new competition staged by Innovation Martlesham, the cluster of hi-tech companies based at BT’s Adastral Park research site, near Ipswich.

Total unemployment in the UK has reached a near seven year low, official figures showed today.
Photo: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

Unemployment in the UK has continued to fall and a record 31million people are in now work, according to the final labour market figures before the General Election.

The Nestle Purina plant in Sudbury.

KitKat, Nescafe and Shredded Wheat maker Nestlé said today that first quarter sales had been boosted by an earlier Easter, but with growth dented by currency changes after the Swiss central bank’s shock decision to lift a cap on the franc.

The B&Q store on the North Quay Retail Park in Lowestoft which is closing in January 2016. Picture: James Bass

DIY chain B&Q has announced its Lowestoft store will close at the start of next year, with reportedly 40 jobs being lost.

Suffolk cider and vinegar maker Aspall was named Business of the Year at last year's EADT Business Awards.  From left, Tom McGarry of EDF Energy, Barry Chevallier Guild of Aspall and Sarah Howard,  of SuffolkChamber.  	
Picture: Lucy Taylor

There is now less than a week to go to enter the 2015 East Anglian Daily Times Business Awards.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages