presssmall.gif (2394 bytes)

Hewitt Confirms Start Date For 3G Mobile Licence Auction

information note


Patricia Hewitt, Minister for E-commerce and Small Business today confirmed that the 3G mobile auction will start on Monday 6 March.

Patricia Hewitt said

"Early licensing certainty for 3G mobile is essential if the UK is remain at the forefront of the global telecommunications market. This will be the first spectrum auction in the UK and the first auction for 3G mobile spectrum in Europe"

"The Government is delivering on its commitments to begin the auction this financial year and to introduce measures to attract one or more new entrants. The increased competition and innovation in the mobile market that this will bring is good news for the UK economy and for consumers. It will be an important contribution to the Government’s aim of making the UK the best place in the world to conduct e-commerce"

"With thirteen high quality Bidders participating I look forward to a competitive auction. The progress of the auction will be published round by round on the auction website."

Notes for Editors

1. The Government will auction five licences for blocks of spectrum for 3G services. The four existing operators, BT (3G) Limited, One2One Personal Communications Limited, Orange 3G Limited, Vodafone Limited may not bid for the licence with the largest amount of spectrum which is reserved for a new entrant to the UK mobile telecoms market. Reserve prices for the five licences total 500 million.

2. The design of the auction is a modified version of that used by the US Federal Communications Commission. Bids will be submitted by fax with bidding for the licences taking place in a sequence of rounds. In each round participants bid simultaneously for any one of the five licences (except that existing operators may not bid for the licence reserved for new entrants). At the end of each round bidders are advised of all bids made. These details will also be published on the auction website ( The holder of the highest bid on each licence is required to remain inactive in the following round. The auction, which may last several weeks, will end when no further bids are received.

3. Thirteen Bidders have qualified to take part in the auction: 3G (UK) Limited;

BT(3G) Limited; Crescent Wireless Limited; Epsilon Tele.Com PLC; NTL Mobile Limited; One.Tel Global Wireless Limited; One2One Personal Communications Limited; Orange 3G Limited; SpectrumCo Limited; TIW UMTS (UK) Limited; Telefonica UK Limited; Vodafone Limited; WorldCom Wireless (UK) Limited.

4. Third generation mobile will allow users to surf the internet, rapidly download e-mails, music and high quality pictures, and hold video conferences on the move.

18 February 2000

Press Enquiries: 0171 215 2345

Out of Hours: 0171 215 5110/5600

Public Enquiries: 0171 215 5000

Textphone (for people with hearing impairments): 0171 215 6740