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Five major events to hit the telecoms industry in 2013

Friday, January 3rd 2014 by Cable.co.uk
A host of major events occurred in the telecoms sector last year (Thinkstock/iStock)
We take a look at some of the biggest moments to affect the telecoms sector last year.

As you're no doubt aware, 2013 turned out to be a pretty big year for the telecoms industry. With the government pushing forward with efforts to boost superfast broadband coverage, former Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt's local TV plan finally seeing the light of day and mobile operators bidding frenziedly on 4G spectrum, it's been far from quiet. 

With that in mind, here's our look back at five of the biggest events to affect the sector last year.

Mobile carriers splash out £2.3 billion in spectrum auction

Following years of organisation, in February Ofcom was finally able to unveil the winners of the UK's 4G spectrum auction, which gave operators the chance to bid for the airwaves they needed to support the rollout of superfast mobile broadband.

Vodafone came out as the biggest spender, committing more than £790 million, closely followed by EE and Telefonica (the parent company of O2), both of which spent in excess of £500 million.

Govt admits broadband target will be missed

Ever since the government outlined its plans to support the rollout of superfast broadband to 90 per cent of the UK by the end of the current parliament, it's been forced to explain and defend its methods against critics who claim the proposals are either not ambitious enough or simply won't work.

So it came as no great surprise when, last summer, the coalition came forward and admitted its target would be missed. Rather than bringing the technology within reach of nine in ten properties by the end of 2015, it now intends to reach 95 per cent by the end of 2017.

BT shakes up the TV sports market

Sky has held a stranglehold on the TV sports market for two decades, but the signs are that this iron grip is beginning to weaken following the launch of BT Sport this summer.

The telecoms giant has bagged itself an impressive array of live sporting rights - including first pick matches from the Barclays Premier League and, from 2015, exclusive coverage of the Uefa Champions League.

Single telecoms market for Europe?

EU Digital Commissioner Neelie Kroes warned in October that Europe's telecoms sector is "sick" - but that a cure is at hand, in the form of a single market. 

This would force regulators to obey a more consistent regulatory framework throughout the continent, while making it easier to deliver connectivity across national borders - something that's expected to provide significant economic benefits.

Local TV finally arrives

In November, years of planning finally bore fruit when the UK's first local digital TV station went live. Estuary TV is the first of 21 licensed channels to hit the airwaves and, once all are active, they'll bring locally focused news, entertainment and other programming to 12 million households.

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