Ofcom has revealed the winners of the UK’s 4G spectrum auction and it’s good news for the consumer, with all major UK networks acquring a slice of spectrum.
The winners were: Everything Everywhere Ltd, Hutchison 3G UK Ltd (Three), Niche Spectrum Ventures Ltd (a subsidiary of BT Group), Telefónica UK Ltd and Vodafone. EE is expected to expand its current 4G network, while Three, Vodafone and O2 will launch new 4G services within six months.
Having a choice of 4G mobile networks means more competitive prices and improved coverage – particularly in rural areas. Ofcom claims 98 per cent of the UK population will benefit from 4G coverage indoors and even more outdoors.
Ed Richards, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: “This is a positive outcome for competition in the UK, which will lead to faster and more widespread mobile broadband, and substantial benefits for consumers and businesses across the country. We are confident that the UK will be among the most competitive markets in the world for 4G services. “
The winners won spectrum across the 800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum. The 800MHz spectrum was previously used by analogue television, while the 2.6GHz spectrum is ideally for faster speeds, in total this is equivalent to two thirds of the frequencies used by devices like tablets and smartphones. EE’s existing 4G service currently utilises the 1800MHz spectrum, a small portion of which was awarded to Three.
Fees totalled £2.3 billion – less than the treasury forcast. Once paid Ofcom will grant licences, with network rollout expected in spring or early summer 2013.
To help consumers understand the advantages of 4G Ofcom has also announced it will be carrying out research into average broadband speed on 3G and 4G networks, which is due to be published in December 2013.
What’s next for the 4G spectrum winners? Find out on Recombu Digital.