Ofcom’s 4G spectrum auction, which began at the end of January, has been completed and the communications regulator has announced the winners. It has also given the total amount of money raised through the sale, a cool £2.34 billion.
While this may sound like plenty of money to most of us, it’s not so good for the government, as early estimates had the figure pegged at £3.5 billion. Despite the final amount being more than £1 billion less than expected, there were five winners of Ofcom’s auction, but not all will be using their purchases for 4G mobile.
Vodafone, Telefonica, Hutchison 3G UK, Everything Everywhere and Niche Spectrum Ventures are the five companies who splashed out on chunks of the 800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum. Vodafone tops the list of buyers, spending £790 million on 20MHz of the 800MHz spectrum, and 65MHz in total of the 2.6GHz band.
Everything Everywhere came next in the spending stakes, with a £588 million total on 10MHz of 800MHz and 70MHz of 2.6GHz. Close behind was Telefonica – the owner of O2 – with its 20MHz of 800MHz spectrum costing £550 million. Hutchison 3G UK, which you’d know better as Three UK, took is allocated 10MHz of the 800MHz bandwidth for £225 million, while Niche Spectrum Ventures spent a fairly modest £186 million on only the 2.6GHz spectrum.
Niche Spectrum Ventures is a subsidiary of BT, and has already announced it won’t be putting its new spectrum for mobile, but to expand its broadband network.
Now this stage has been completed, we’ve taken another step closer to EE’s competition launching their own 4G LTE networks. No dates have been given for when they’ll launch, although O2 said in its press release it intends to turn its signal on in the summer.