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Colt happy with paying top whack for spectrum

C&W gloats over 'common sense' bid

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Colt has denied it paid over the odds for a spectrum licence that enables the development of private GSM mobile phone networks in office buildings or campuses.

Details of the 1781.7-1785MHz paired with 1876.7-1880MHz spectrum auction were released today as regulator Ofcom confirmed that the 12 licences which have been awarded raised £3.8m.

But while Spring Mobil AB and Cable & Wireless (C&W) paid just over £50,000 each for their licences, Colt Mobile Telecommunications paid more than £1.5 million to get its hands on the spectrum - £500,000 more than second highest bidder Teleware plc.

Other notable winners in the auction include BT, which stumped up £275,112, O2 which paid £209,888 and Carphone Warehouse-owned Opal Telecom Ltd, which bid £155,555.

Asked whether Colt has got its sums wrong, a spokeswoman for the telco told El Reg: "We're very pleased to have won the licence.

"We are comfortable with what we paid," she said, pointing out that two bidders - Orange and Zynetix - missed out because they only bid £50,000.

For its part C&W has been quick to announce that it plans to use the licence to offer converged fixed mobile services to its corporate customers that could chop up to 30 per cent off mobile bills.

Revelling in the news that C&W's spectrum bid was "achieved at a competitive rate", C&W bigwig David Ellis said: "Our bid price was based on common sense. We'll be investing the money we saved on the licence in delivering a superior service to our customers." ®

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