EE, Hutchison 3G, Niche Spectrum Ventures, Telefonica (O2) and Vodafone named winning bidders.
UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has today (February 20th) announced the winning bidders of its 4G mobile spectrum auction, raising £2.34 billion in the process – over £1 billion short of its forecast figure of £3.5 billion.
Four new winners were announced - Hutchison 3G, Niche Spectrum Ventures, Telefonica (O2) and Vodafone – with existing 4G operator EE also awarded expanded bandwidth.
Despite expecting to raise around £3.5 billion for the treasury, the auction only managed to generate £2.34 billion.
Furthermore, these figures both fall well short of the numbers generated during the UK’s last significant mobile spectrum auction, which saw £22.5 billion raised in the bidding war for 3G services.
Ed Richards, Ofcom chief executive, told the BBC that the figure was lower because "we are in very, very different times", but he insisted that maximising the size of the auction was not the objective it was set by the government.
"What we were trying to do was ensure that a valuable economic resource was brought into productive commercial use," he said.
Meanwhile, commenting on the auction outcome, O2 CEO Ronan Dunne said: “Today, Telefónica has made a significant investment in next-generation 4G technology for the UK. While 4G will indeed allow for faster data speeds and a more seamless mobile experience, it is our intention to go beyond what has already been offered in the market and give our customers a unique and exclusive range of digital experiences, marking a new generation for the mobile industry.
“This is a truly landmark moment for the UK, presenting a wealth of opportunity to transform mainstream services to improve people’s lives. Now the investment has been made for 4G to become a nationwide reality, we want all organisations across all sectors to ensure the true value of 4G is realised, so that together we can make Britain truly digital.”