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UK targets £3.5bn from 4G spectrum auction

Chancellor Osborne reveals projections in his autumn statement

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UK chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne has revealed that the country hopes to raise £3.5 billion from a 4G mobile spectrum auction scheduled for 2013.

In tandem with Osborne's autumn budget statement to Parliament, the Office for Budget Responsibility said it had factored in an assumption of an extra £3.5 billion from the auction. Communications and media regulator Ofcom said last month that the reserve prices for the spectrum would be a combined total of £1.3 billion pounds.

Service provider EE, fronted by Orange and T-Mobile, is currently trialling 4G services in the UK on existing spectrum space with mobile operators Vodafone and Telefonica’s O2 waiting in the wings for the much anticipated auction.

However, a political row has broken out over the utilisation of the funds raised from the auction. The opposition Labour party wants the proceeds to be reinvested in UK housing projects. But the Conservative party, the senior partner in the coalition government, has said that while in power the Labour party had a similar windfall with a 3G auction which it used to service government debt and not for capital spending.


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