4G auction result set to prompt marketing war

Ed Richards: Ofcom chief executive
Ed Richards: Ofcom chief executive

Vodafone, 02, EE, Three and BT are the winning bidders for the much-trumpeted 4G mobile spectrum, which is expected to kick-start a major marketing war.

Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, today revealed that it had raised £2.34bn from its auction of 4G mobile spectrum – £1.1bn less for the Government's coffers than expected.

It is also significantly less than the £22bn raised from the 3G auction in 2000.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) had forecast the auction for 4G mobile spectrum would raise £3.5bn for the Treasury.

Vodafone paid the most, paying out £790.8m to win five blocks of airwaves.

The country’s biggest operator EE, which has already launched 4G services in the UK, paid £588.9m to buy extended coverage.

O2 paid out £550m for two blocks, while Three paid out £225m for its coverage. BT paid out £186.5m to acquire three blocks of spectrum.

John Bernard, global director of marketing and product at Firefox-owner Mozilla, said: "There is going to be some heavy summer marketing activity in the summer around speed, in light of today's 4G announcement."

4G mobile spectrum is expected to provide tablet computer and smartphone users with superfast download speeds.

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 business across the country. We are confident that the UK will be among the most competitive markets in the world for 4G services."

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