Feeds

EE eyes up £400m payday at spectrum auction

Everything Everywhere starts ball rolling through gritted teeth

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
TEEN RAMPAGE: Kids in iPhone 6 'Will it bend' YouTube 'prank'
iPhones bent in Norwich? As if the place wasn't weird enough
Consumers agree to give up first-born child for free Wi-Fi – survey
This Herod network's ace – but crap reception in bullrushes
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
New EU digi-commish struggles with concepts of net neutrality
Oettinger all about the infrastructure – but not big on substance
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.