UK superfast mobile internet to provide benefits of £20 billion, says Ofcom

24 January 2013 | Kavit Majithia


Superfast mobile internet in the UK will provide the public benefits of approximately £20 billion over the next decade, according to Ofcom.

The UK, which has lagged behind other developed markets in launching 4G mobile services, began its formal process for the country’s 4G spectrum auction earlier this week.

UK watchdog Ofcom estimates that consumers will save £20 billion through access to superfast mobile services, with the regulator stating that the public and the economy would benefit significantly, further beyond the short-term gains as a result of the auction.

“Ofcom’s 4G auction is designed to deliver the maximum benefit to the UK,” said Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards. “We believe that it is likely to be at least £20 billion over the next 10 years for consumers alone who will be able to access new digital services across the country.”

Mobile revenues, employment opportunities and software development are also said to be the main driver to ensuring superfast services also contributes favourably to UK GDP.

Ofcom has yet to confirm how much it expects to raise initially from the auction, despite the government estimating a figure of £3.5 billion. The Financial Times said Ofcom analysts had calculated the £20 billion figure in savings for consumers.

Seven companies are bidding for spectrum, with the UK’s four major mobile operators - Vodafone, O2, Three and EE - competing to secure low frequency bands capable of addressing mobile internet service demand.

At the height of the dotcom boom in 2000, the UK 3G auction raised £22 billion for the state.