Government offers five UMTS licences in mobile shake-up

Government offers five UMTS licences in mobile shake-up
Richard Wilson
Government plans to see at least one major new operator in the mobile phone market are confirmed with the announcement that five 3rd generation mobile phone licences will be auctioned later this year.
The decision will guarantee at least one new mobile phone operator in the UK which is already one of the most competitive in Europe with four service providers.
However, it goes against the recommendations of at least one market research report which indicated that the UK market may not be large enough to support five operators.
“Following extensive consultation and consideration we have decided to offer give 3rd generation licences by means of auction. The prospect of one or more new operators and the increased competition and innovation that this will bring is good news both for the economy and consumers in the UK,” said DTI telecoms minister Michael Wills.
The government has indicated that it will give preferential licence conditions to one new entrant into the market. It has also said all new entrants will be given the right to make use of one of the four existing GSM networks. This is being interpreted as a shake-up of the existing four operators.

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