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news release
P/2000/296 27 April 2000

                                BYERS ANNOUNCES 3G MOBILE LICENCE WINNERS

                    Stephen Byers, Secretary of State for Trade & Industry, today announced the winners
                    in the third generation (3G) mobile spectrum licence auction.

                    The provisional licence winners are:

  • Licence A
TIW UMTS (UK) Limited 4,384,700,000
  • Licence B
Vodafone Limited 5,964,000,000
  • Licence C
BT (3G) Limited 4,030,100,000
  • Licence D
One2One Personal Communications Limited 4,003,600,000
  • Licence E
Orange 3G Limited 4,095,000,000
Mr Byers said:

"The outcome of this auction supports the Government’s commitment to early licensing of 3G and to increasing competition in the UK mobile telecoms market. It will ensure the UK maintains its position as a world leader in mobile telephony, and is a vital step towards our goal of making the UK the best place in the world for e-commerce.

"I welcome the introduction of a new entrant to the UK mobile telecoms market. This has been a direct result of the decision to auction five licences. Greater competition will spur faster roll-out of more innovative services, as well as delivering greater choice and lower prices to the consumer.

"3G has the potential to transform everyday life, opening up full scale, multi-media access to millions of people. 3G users will be able to surf the net, download e-mails, music and high quality pictures and hold video conferences all on the move.

"This was the world’s first 3G spectrum auction and UK consumers will be among the first in the world to reap the benefits of this exciting new technology. The outcome of this auction is good news for business, the consumer, the economy, and the taxpayer."

This is the first time spectrum has been allocated in the UK by auction allowing the licensing process to reflect the commercial value of spectrum. Previously licences have been allocated by comparative selection ("beauty contest") with licence fees set to cover administration costs.

The auction began on Monday 6 March and was managed by the Radiocommunications Agency, which is responsible for the licensing and administration of the radio spectrum.


Notes for Editors

Thirteen bidders, of which nine were potential new entrants to the UK mobile market, competed in the auction for spectrum licences to provide 3G mobile communication services. Five licences were on offer with the largest licence (Licence A) reserved for a new entrant. The winner of licence A, TIW UMTS (UK) Limited, is a subsidiary of TIW, the telecoms company listed on the Toronto stock exchange ("TIW") and NASDAQ ("TIWI"), which also owns the UK TETRA operator Dolphin.


The other bidders in the auction were: 3G (UK) Limited; Crescent Wireless Limited; Epsilon Tele.com PLC; NTL Mobile Limited; One.Tel Global Wireless Limited; SpectrumCo Limited; Telefonica UK Limited; and WorldCom Wireless (UK) Limited.


The granting of licences is conditional on satisfaction of any pre-conditions. The winning bidders will be asked to notify any such pre-conditions. These might include any need for shareholder approval which could not be obtained until after the auction or a requirement to end an association with another winning bidder, which must be eliminated before the licence is granted.


The auction was managed by the Radiocommunications Agency (RA). The RA was advised by N M Rothschild & Sons Limited (financial advisors), Allen and Overy (legal advisors), University College London (auction design), and Quotient Communications Limited (technical advice).


Further information on the auction, including full round by round details and summaries of the bids made during the auction, is available on the Radiocommunications Agency’s auction website at www.spectrumauctions.gov.uk


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RA website: www.radio.gov.uk
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