Ringing up 4G windfall

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HOPES that next year’s sale of 4G airwaves could generate a windfall for the government have been fuelled by successful auctions in other countries.

Mobile operators in the Netherlands paid €3.8 billion (£3.1bn) for the country’s 4G spectrum on Friday, easily surpassing expectations of €450 million. In Ireland last month, operators overcame a challenging economy to generate €854m. Brian Potterill, PwC’s director of telecoms strategy, now expects the UK’s 4G auction will raise the high-end of his previous £2bn to £4bn estimate. Despite many operators finding it increasingly difficult to boost returns from mobile data, he said demand for capacity was showing no sign of relenting.

Shares in Vodafone, which bought €1.4bn worth of the Dutch spectrum, were down 
2 per cent on concerns it could spend more than expected when it comes to the UK’s turn to sell mobile frequencies.