Ofcom UK 4G auction progresses, seven bidders announced

Ofcom UK 4G auction progresses, seven bidders announcedLast we heard, Ofcom had “fired the starting gun” on the UK 4G auction process, with a deadline of 4pm on December 11 for applicants to stick their names down alongside a £100,000 deposit.

This morning, Ofcom announced the list of organisations who have successfully “qualified to bid in the auction”, with seven names in total – some familiar, some not so much.

For starters, each of the Big Four is present, so that’s O2, Vodafone, Everything Everywhere (Orange and T-Mobile) and Hutchison 3G (Three Mobile).

At this stage you’re inevitably thinking: ‘What the hey? Who are the other three bidders?’

They are HKT UK (as in Hong Kong Telecom, a subsidiary of PCCW), MLL Telecoms (which has “almost 20 years of experience designing, installing, managing and maintaining backhaul links and wide area networks”), and finally BT subsidiary Niche Spectrum Ventures Limited.

The actual 4G bidding process will get underway next month at some point, with the magnificent seven vying for hunks of 800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum, the former having been freed up by the death of analogue TV.

“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,” croons Ed Richards, Ofcom Chief Executive.

“New 4G services will stimulate investment, growth and innovation in the UK and deliver significant benefits to consumers in terms of better, faster and more reliable mobile broadband connections.”

via: Ofcom

Read more about: 3 MobileO2OrangeT-mobileVodafone

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14 comments

Pondlife  Dec. 20, 2012 at 12:19

Three extra bidders is a surprise, there's not enough for everyone to get a piece is there?

matt101101 / MOD  Dec. 20, 2012 at 13:38

Three extra bidders is a surprise, there's not enough for everyone to get a piece is there?
The three extra bidders are also irrelevant to the mobile world, none of them intend to start a new network to compete with the existing four.

BT and the big four are almost guaranteed spectrum, the other two I'm not so sure about.

Andy247  Dec. 20, 2012 at 13:40

With any luck Three will miss out on 800MHz spectrum and die a slow painful death :-D

Pondlife  Dec. 20, 2012 at 13:45

Three extra bidders is a surprise, there's not enough for everyone to get a piece is there?
The three extra bidders are also irrelevant to the mobile world, none of them intend to start a new network to compete with the existing four.

BT and the big four are almost guaranteed spectrum, the other two I'm not so sure about.


What do they intend to do then?

matt101101 / MOD  Dec. 20, 2012 at 13:50

Three extra bidders is a surprise, there's not enough for everyone to get a piece is there?
The three extra bidders are also irrelevant to the mobile world, none of them intend to start a new network to compete with the existing four.

BT and the big four are almost guaranteed spectrum, the other two I'm not so sure about.


What do they intend to do then?

The Buckinghamshire company wants it to to help improve the performance of existing networks and the other two want it for wireless broadband for rural areas.

Obviously the 4 networks want it it add 4G to their existing networks.

Pondlife  Dec. 20, 2012 at 14:00

Ah. In that case Andy247 is out of luck then as 3 will be guaranteed some 800 mhz spectrum.

Actually think I've confusedly melded two of the rules into a 2+2=5 third one. It doesn't actually say that.

"Promoting competition
Ofcom has concluded that UK consumers are likely to benefit from better services at lower prices if there are at least four credible national wholesalers of 4G mobile services.
Therefore, in the interests of competition, Ofcom has decided to reserve a minimum amount of spectrum in the auction for a fourth operator. This could be either Hutchison 3G or a new entrant altogether.
Coverage obligation
The spectrum bands will be auctioned to bidders as a series of lots. One of the 800 MHz lots of spectrum will carry an obligation to provide a mobile broadband service for indoor reception to at least 98% of the UK population by the end of 2017 at the latest."

universe1992  Dec. 20, 2012 at 14:04

Actually three's ultra fast speeds have beaten some of 4g EE speeds lately!

Pondlife  Dec. 20, 2012 at 14:09

Very few handsets can make the most of that though.
EE's 3g speed has jumped to being faster than 3's here but it's a bit turbulent he notes as Radio 5 sports extra goes offline and buffers on phone..

Pondlife  Dec. 20, 2012 at 14:13

Given that none of the others want it for mobile networks, 3 doesn't have to bid much does it?
Though if they only bid for the 800 mhz end they'd have to be awarded it wouldn't they?

Moggs  Dec. 20, 2012 at 17:14

Loads of country don't have decent 2G coverage, don't sell our bandwidth asset until the companies promise to provide coverage to 95% of the country rather than a population based coverage.

matt101101 / MOD  Dec. 20, 2012 at 18:41

Loads of country don't have decent 2G coverage, don't sell our bandwidth asset until the companies promise to provide coverage to 95% of the country rather than a population based coverage.
Why? If people want to live out in the middle of nowhere, that's their choice. The Scottish highlands don't deserve the same coverage as central London, why cover an area where very few customers live? That just pushes costs up for people who don't live in a field.

Moggs  Dec. 20, 2012 at 18:51

Loads of country don't have decent 2G coverage, don't sell our bandwidth asset until the companies promise to provide coverage to 95% of the country rather than a population based coverage.
Why? If people want to live out in the middle of nowhere, that's their choice. The Scottish highlands don't deserve the same coverage as central London, why cover an area where very few customers live? That just pushes costs up for people who don't live in a field.

I live in a town of three thousand people in west sussex with no proper coverage not in a field in Scotland, actually decent coverage would push up usage and reduce cost for the rest. I worked in the industry and cost could be controlled better by reducing the number of handsets given away for fashion.

Pondlife  Dec. 20, 2012 at 20:12

That can't be on every network though?

Moggs  Dec. 20, 2012 at 22:03

That can't be on every network though?oh yes it is, especially since Tmobile and O range have collapsed their radio coverage together.

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