Seven bidders confirmed for UK spectrum auction

UK regulator Ofcom has confirmed that seven companies will participate in the UK 4G spectrum auction next month.

As anticipated, the UK’s four mobile operators – O2, Vodafone, EE and Three – have all confirmed their participation, along with PCCW, BT and MLL Telecom.

The companies will be competing for both 800MHz and 2.6GHz frequencies. The UK government hopes to generate £3.5 billion from the auction.

MLL Telecom’s involvement comes as something of a surprise. The UK-based company specialises in supplying managed networks and already owns some licensed spectrum to support its UK clients.

“Bids from BT and PCCW were largely expected given BT’s role in LTE trials in the UK, and PCCW’s launch of the first wholesale LTE network through another subsidiary, UK Broadband, early in 2012. MLL Telecom’s bid is perhaps a surprise however,” says James Walsh, head of telecoms at global law firm Eversheds.

“The good news for the government is that having seven bidders should help to maximise revenue from the auction."

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