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Hopes rise of 4g phone windfall [Northeast Region] [Daily Post (Liverpool, England)]
[December 18, 2012]

Hopes rise of 4g phone windfall [Northeast Region] [Daily Post (Liverpool, England)]

(Daily Post (Liverpool, England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) HOPES that next year's sale of 4G airwaves could generate a windfall for the Government have been fuelled by successful auctions in other countries.

Mobile operators in the Netherlands paid a total 3.8 billion euros (Pounds 3.1 billion) for the country's 4G spectrum on Friday, easily surpassing expectations of around 450 million euros (Pounds 366 million). In Ireland last month, operators overcame a challenging economy to generate 854 million euros (Pounds 700 million).

Brian Potterill, PwC's director of telecoms strategy, now expects the UK's 4G auction will raise the high-end of his previous Pounds 2 billion to Pounds 4 billion estimate.

Despite many operators finding it increasingly difficult to boost returns from mobile data, he said demand for capacity was showing no sign of relenting.

Shares in Vodafone, which bought 1.4 billion euros (Pounds 1.1 billion) worth of the Dutch spectrum, were down 2% on concerns it could spend more than expected when it comes to the UK's turn to sell mobile frequencies.

Telecoms regulator Ofcom has placed a reserve price of Pounds 1.3 billion on the 4G sale but the Government's tax and spending watchdog this month estimated a Pounds 3.5 billion boost to the public finances.

Industry analysts at Ovum have cautioned against speculating on how much the UK could raise through the 4G sale.

Its regulation analyst Matthew Howett said: "Trying to guess how much money a spectrum auction can raise is a bit of a fool's game." (c) 2012 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.

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