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PCCW, the Hong Kong-based telco, has gobbled up one of the two other companies to win a 3.4GHz licence in June.

According to insiders, the acquisition means that PCCW - through its Poundradio subsidiary - owns all the licences auctioned by the Government earlier this year except one.

Execs at Red Spectrum were asked to comment on the deal but declined suggesting we speak to PCCW.

No one at PCCW was available for comment at the time of writing.

The 3.4GHz Auction - which should allow operators to offer fixed wireless broadband services to rural areas - ended in June when all 15 licences were sold for almost £7 million.

Poundradio - aka PCCW - won thirteen licences while Red Spectrum won the Northern Metropolitan licence. A third company - Public Hub - won the Southern Provincial licence.

At the time e-commerce minister Stephen Timms said: "We are delighted with the outcome of the auction. With all 15 licences sold, this is another important step in making the UK the most extensive and competitive market for broadband in the G7.

"The aim of the auction was to see the licences in the hands of the operators best able to take advantage of them, and in turn, to see consumers - including those in areas currently without ADSL or cable - benefit from fixed wireless broadband access."

So, is Public Hub next? Not likely, according to CEO Paul Seaman. He told The Register: "We're building our business here in the south of England. We're standing on our own two feet."

Indeed, the company expects to have its first customers in place by the end of the year and will be running several pilots in, as yet, unnamed Hampshire villages to test different business models. ®

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