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OFCOM Announces winners of 4G Auction

OFCOM has announced the 5 winners for the spectrum to operate 4G Mobile Phone Services.

They are – Everything Everywhere (Orange & T-Mobile), Hutchison 3G UK, Telefonica (O2), Vodafone & Niche Spectrum Ventures (BT Group).

A few interesting things come to light in the results. Niche Spectrum (BT) have only 2.6GHz spectrum, which indicates they are concentrating on heavily populated areas only, as that high frequency doesn’t travel or propagate very far. Hutchison 3G, operators of the 3 Network have only acquired the 800 MHz Spectrum, which indicates they will be reusing their existing 2.1GHz for populated area 4G service – thus using the 800 MHz band to increase coverage across the country. This should also greatly improve their indoor coverage – something much needed as 2.1GHz really doesn’t travel well. The Telefonia (O2) Licence comes with a attahcement that the network must offer 98% INDOOR Mobile Broadband Coverage – 99% Outdoor – by 2017. That really is a tall order & will require at lot of Network Planning, aggressive Roll Over & a LOT of Transmitters.

The auction raised £2.4Million for the Treasury, well short of the £3.5 Million expected. Things have changed a lot since the previous auction of 3G Licences, which raised in excess of £22 BILLION for the then Chancellor Gordon Brown. At that time , I worked for Orange & was astounded everytime the latest round of bids went in. The networks should, hopefully see ROI this time around.

Our main concern with 4G Services is the interference the 800 Mz Band will cause to Freeview Reception throughout the UK.