Feeds

EE eyes up £400m payday at spectrum auction

Everything Everywhere starts ball rolling through gritted teeth

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Everything Everywhere has started consulting on how best to auction off the 30MHz of bandwidth it's required to give up, with a view to turning it into £400m in cash some time next month.

That's according to the Financial Times, who's been talking to the ever-helpful "people familiar with the plan" and heard that the Royal Bank of Scotland is being lined up to handle the auction. That auction will see radio spectrum which was handed out by the UK government, to UK companies, being sold by the now-foreign owners for a tasty £400m or so.

That's an estimated price; no one knows how much the spectrum is worth. Any buyer will be taking a significant punt given the uncertainty around the UK spectrum market which is about to be seriously disrupted by the upcoming mega auction.

When T-Mobile and Orange merged the EU said they would have to sell off 30MHz of their holdings at 1800MHz, which is what's now to be auctioned off. When the mega auction comes, Ofcom will almost certainly cap the total holdings of any one operator, so EE will want to get shot of that 30MHz ahead of that auction.

Equally: no one is going to buy EE's spectrum until the mega auction rules are known, and we're still awaiting the next round of proposals from Ofcom on that score. Those rules will include caps on spectrum ownership, so despite EE's 30MHz being suitable for 2G, 3G or even 4G telephony, it's very hard to put a price on it.

In the UK we launched 2G at 900MHz and 1800MHz, with 3G at 2.1GHz. Relaxed licences now let operators run 3G (or even 4G) at 900 and 1800MHz, and O2 has started filling its 900MHz band with 3G around London, but 3G kit usable at 1800MHz is still relatively rare.

Get into 4G and things gets worse: right now there are more than 40 different bands which are mapped for LTE (the 4G technology of preference) around the world, with only 2.6GHz and 800MHz having any degree of international harmonisation. LTE will happily run at 1800MHz, but what proportion of handsets will end up supporting that band we don't know.

Everything Everywhere has to get shot of the spectrum, but is selling less-than-prime frequencies a scant few months before some of the most valuable spectrum on the dial comes up for public auction. EE will be hoping to drum up some interest, and get a competitive auction going, but seems unlikely to get what the spectrum is worth, assuming one can ever work out what that would be. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
FCC, Google cast eye over millimetre wireless
The smaller the wave, the bigger 5G's chances of success
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.