4G auction raises much less than government was banking on
We don’t know if it happened in a dusty auction room, filled with serious-faced men bidding by raising cards or subtly touching their fingers against their trilby hats, but it seems that there’s been an auction. An auction for the 4G network here in the UK.
The winning bidders are Everything Everywhere (T-Mobile/Orange), Hutchison 3G UK (Three), Niche Spectrum Ventures (a BT subsidiary), Telefonica (O2), and Vodafone.
All great news for the aforementioned mobile providers. The not-so-great news will be filling the head and disturbing the slumber of George ‘Gideon’ Osbourne, who was banking on £3.5 billion being raised at the auction - in fact he'd already included in his Autumn Statement last year. Unfortunately, the lesser sum of £2.4bn has been raised. By contrast, the 3G auction in 2000 raised £22bn.
The Treasury have clearly got the hump, claiming that the money was earmarked for investment in growth and science for businesses. We think they’re trying to blame the mobile providers for killing the country by not bidding more for the network.
They have also said that the £3.5bn figure was certified by the Office of Budget Responsibility and based on external independent analysis, done by experts and based on other similar auctions. So it’s not George’s fault, okay?