Light Reading

Euronews: BT's Back in Wireless

Paul Rainford
2/20/2013
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Vodafone Group plc, Everything Everywhere Ltd. (EE), Telefónica UK Ltd. (O2), 3 and BT Group plc take pole position in the EMEA headlines as the U.K.'s 4G auction results are finally revealed.

  • U.K. regulator Ofcom has announced the results of the long-delayed 4G spectrum auction, with the four main mobile players all gaining their slice of the action. Vodafone paid the most, shelling out nearly £791 million (US$41.2 billion) for spectrum in two bands. Politically, the main talking point has been just how far short of the government's hoped-for windfall the successful bids have fallen: The auction raised slightly over £2.3 billion ($3.5 billion), when the U.K.'s Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, had been banking on £3.5 billion ($5.3 billion) for the state coffers. (See UK 4G Auction Falls Short, Ofcom Announces 4G Auction Results, Vodafone Gets UK 4G Spectrum and UK Kicks Off 4G Auction Process.)
  • The most interesting feature of the auction results is probably the £186 million ($284 million) acquisition of three chunks of spectrum in the 2.6GHz band by BT subsidiary Niche Spectrum Ventures, which it may use to form part of a wireless broadband offer to enterprise users. This is the first time BT has held a wireless spectrum license since it sold BT Cellnet (now O2) back in 2001. (See BT's Hot for 4G and BT Secures 2.6GHz License.)
  • Group net income fell 30.7 percent year-on-year at France Télécom – Orange to €3.38 billion ($4.52 billion) on revenues that fell 0.6 percent to €43.51 billion ($58.29 billion). Mobile services revenues in France fell 0.9 percent year-on-year in the face of continuing stiff competition from recent entrant Free Mobile. (See France Telecom Reports 2012 Financials and Iliad Disrupts the French Mobile Scene.)
  • Com Hem AB, the Swedish pay-TV operator that has just hooked up with Verimatrix Inc. to help secure its multi-screen offer, announced its fourth-quarter results today. Revenues were down slightly year-on-year at 1.14 billion Swedish kroner ($181 million), though fourth-quarter EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) rose 14 percent to SEK577million ($91 million). (See Com Hem Gets Secure With Verimatrix.) — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading
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