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Thursday, 12 April, 2001, 16:09 GMT 17:09 UK
Scramble for licences
Phone companies spent billions for new mobile licences
Phone companies spent billions for new mobile licences
The story of the sales of radio spectrum for the next generation of mobile phones has been one of unpredictable results and widely varying fortunes.

The UK government set the ball rolling when early last year it started to accept bids from 13 companies who wanted to operate a licence to sell next-generation mobile phones.

It raised 22.47bn, raising the hopes of other governments that they too could be in line for a windfall.

But as companies began to balk from paying huge sums for the licences, the only way governments were guaranteed to make money was to set the price in advance and award the licences on merit through a beauty contest.

UK bonanza

The way the UK auction was structured was that each rival bid had to be a certain percentage higher. This meant that the size of the bids escalated at an increasingly rapid rate over 150 rounds of bidding.
3G government bonanza
UK: 22.4bn
France:6.32bn
US: 11.24bn
Germany: 30.4bn
Italy: 7.5bn
Netherlands: 1.68bn
Poland: 1.9bn
Sweden: 26,000
Switzerland: 80m
Belgium: 300m
Australia: 500m
Spain: 12m


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