The amount they paid was
You didn't have to be a genius to look at the amounts they paid, and the likely number of punters, and the likely timeframe over which they'd want to recover their costs, to realise that they'd paid far far far too much. That sum gives you an average revenue per punter per year, before you add in handsets and infrastructure and.... Anyway it was many many hundreds of pounds per year, which wasn't ever going to happen.
And then having fouled up on the financial arithmetic, they wanted their legal peoples' VAT-related incompetence to be paid for by the UK taxpayer in general? Er, no thank you chaps.
Nice to see the "justice" system can get it right sometimes.
Incidentally, anyone know when the present UK GSM licences run out? That'll be the time a UK 3G licence might be worth something (assuming they've a few years left).