The UKs 4G auction is finally underway, with 7 ISPs bidding for superfast mobile broadband. As well as EE, the companies competing are:
- HKT (UK) Company Limited (a subsidiary of PCCW Limited)
- Hutchison (the Three network)
- MLL Telecom Ltd
- Niche Spectrum Ventures Limited (BT)
- Telefónica (O2)
The bidding process will take place online over several rounds, and last a number of weeks. No updates on bidding activity will be provided until the end of the auction. It’s important that information about the bids remains confidential until the auction is over, to reduce the risk of strategic bidding which could distort the outcome of the auction.
Ofcom have been criticised for the amount of time the rollout has taken, with the UK behind a number of other countries that have already implemented 4G and the action delayed by around a year.
The new spectrum will nearly double the amount of airwaves currently available for mobile broadband on smartphones, tablets and laptops. It is expected that this will significantly boost the economy.
EE rolled out 4G across 11 UK cities on 30th October Whether or not EE has enjoyed a boost in sales thanks to 4G is still not clear – they recently announced it was temporarily lowering its prices after criticism about their cost. Statistics released a few months ago suggested that 4G coverage hadn’t proved to be as good as expected.
The winners of the 4G auction are likely to launch their services by this summer.