BT Suffers as Ofcom Delays 2.6GHz Auctions

There's not much doubt as to who suffers most from Ofcom's decision to push out the start of the U.K.'s 2.6GHz auction process yet again. There are likely to be several contenders for the spectrum, but only one that can make a really big impact on the U.K. mobile broadband market: BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA).

BT has the dubious distinction of being the only major incumbent telco in the western world that doesn't have a 2G or 3G license. It has had several shots at shoehorning other wireless technologies into competing with cellular. For those with long memories, there was CT2/Telepoint in the early 1990s, followed by dualmode DECT/GSM in 1998. Both crashed and burned.

More recently, BT has floundered on with dualmode "Fusion," combining a cellular MVNO proposition with in-building coverage based first on Bluetooth, now WiFi. BT Open Zone is competitive enough as a WiFI hotspot service, but nothing special compared with the WiFi coverage that many other cellular operators also offer as a complement to their 3G service. The most recent "Digital Cities" effort to deploy wide-area WiFi has failed to capture the imagination of consumers or investors, and is unlikely to take much more than a splinter of the U.K.'s mobile broadband revenue opportunity...

Read the rest at Light Reading.

— Patrick Donegan, Senior Analyst, Wireless, Heavy Reading

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