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Cable.co.uk comments on Ofcom mobile spectrum licence fees announcement

  • Revised annual fees from mobile operators to rise more than 300%
  • After extensive consultation period, Ofcom has ruled mobile industry must 'pay market value'
  • Rise may provoke price increases to consumers

24 September 2015 : This morning, Ofcom announced an effective tripling in the licence fees the UK's four network providers must pay annually for their share of the 900 MHz and 1800MHz spectrum bands, which they use to provide voice, and data via 2G, 3G and 4G technologies.

As well as the price rise, Ofcom is altering the current way fees are paid – distributed across the year – to a single, annual pay date. The move comes a full five years after the government directed Ofcom to revise fees to reflect market value.

The full Ofcom press release can be read at media.ofcom.org.uk

Dan Howdle, telecoms expert at consumer mobile and broadband advice site, Cable.co.uk had this to say about the announcement: "There can be absolutely no doubt as to the fairness of simply ensuring the UK's mobile network providers pay a fair price for what is absolutely a finite resource.

"But, of course, the money has to come from somewhere. And while, on paper, O2, Vodafone, Three and EE appear in arguably rude health from the perspective of their announced operating profits earlier this year, behind closed doors they are unlikely be happy to see their war chest diminished.

"That Ofcom is 'phasing in' the move to a yearly lump-sum payment for the licence fees will make it especially difficult to detect when, if and how these costs will be passed on to consumers, either directly or indirectly via the fees paid by mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) such as Virgin Mobile and giffagaff to piggyback their network infrastructure."

Notes to editors

  • If using our research and/or commentary we would deeply appreciate a link either to this page or to https://www.cable.co.uk

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What is Cable.co.uk?

Cable.co.uk is a broadband, TV and phone comparator, unique news source and consumer champion.

Dan Howdle has been plugged into the attitudes of UK broadband, TV and mobile customers for over two decades. Having spent 12 years at the coalface of consumer telecoms research, initiating and running projects both nationally and internationally on behalf of the biggest players in the industry. Dan is now Director of Communications and in-house consumer telecoms expert for Cable.co.uk.

An experienced broadcaster, commentator and writer who frequently appears on BBC TV and radio, ITV, Sky and in the national papers and their websites, Dan leads a team of journalists and communications folk who spend their days researching and reporting on problems faced by UK broadband, TV and mobile customers both on an individual and macro level.

Dan campaigns on many issues currently facing consumers of broadband, TV and mobile products in the UK. These include, but are not limited to: Rural broadband provision; mobile coverage; broadband, TV and mobile customer contract issues; broadband and mobile broadband speeds; switching and money-saving; infrastructural challenges; pricing, changes and structures; shifts in technology and the marketplace; telecoms regulation, policy and law; fines, adjudications and policy changes; mergers and closures of UK providers; annual financials and more.

Dan has advised Ofcom on issues surrounding service quality. He also administers and adjudicates the yearly Broadband Service Quality Awards and sits on the panel of judges for the Internet Service Providers Association annual awards.

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