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back to article UK 4G auction kicks off in total silence

The UK has opened its auction of radio frequencies suitable for high-speed 4G mobile internet services. Who exactly is bidding in which bands will remain a secret until the sale ends. The auction includes chunks of spectrum cleared by the switch-off of analogue telly and the move to digital TV, known as the 800MHz band, and the …

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FAIL

More competitive pricing?

"Meanwhile EE has changed its 4G pricing, introducing a £31 plan with a 500MB cap and a handset, along with a SIM-only plan offering 20GB of data at £46 a month, realising that its monopoly on 4G is about to run out so more competitive pricing is in order."

This must be some weird use of the term "competitive" that I haven't heard of before.

£WTF a month for crap coverage and shite data allowances. What these muppets have to understand is that they are also competing with 3G. It doesn't matter how fast 4G is, with a 500MB cap it offers no advantage over 3G because you can't do anything that sort of speed permits without blowing your allowance in a few minutes.

Wake me up when they announce £30 for 20GB and coverage is more than a few big conurbations.

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Re: More competitive pricing?

We have more competitive pricing than the yanks.

Hot spots are the way forward - enough of this phoney phone data plannage!

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Re: More competitive pricing?

I definitely take your point about the lack of coverage. It might be interesting to see what the other networks throw at EE's monopoly. I suspect wider coverage will be at the heart of some alternative offerings - with Vodafone and O2 agreeing to share tower sites (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/10/01/o2_voda/) there might be big strides in availability with both networks working together.

I have to say that I share your sentiments regarding costs though. Having just switched networks in order to get 3G (HSPA and HSPA+) coverage at home, it already seems like a massive step forward from my previous GPRS (not even EDGE) coverage. I can't see that the small real-world speed improvements will be worth more than doubling my current costs.

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Windows

Re: More competitive pricing?

Awake, Sir Eponymoys, and come to Finland!

£10/ month, and all you can eat. (OK, they call it 4G, but we all know it aint)

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3G debt

..shouldn't the companies that put in massive bids for the 3G pay those off first before doing the same again for 4G?

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Re: 3G debt

".....shouldn't the companies that put in massive bids for the 3G pay those off first before doing the same again for 4G?"

Yes - and those that had to sell their mobile operator when they spent too much on the 3G auction should probably sit this one out.

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Re: 3G debt

They are going to do that with profits from 4G. I'm sure that's the thinking anyway...

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MJI
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Anything to stop TV companies buying it?

Just thinking about this, what would stop say Virgin or Sky buying a channel and using it for TV?

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Happy

Re: Anything to stop TV companies buying it?

Using TV bands for use as...TV? Common sense.

Selling TV bands for use as...TV? Money for old rope? Surprised ConLib didn't think of it earlier...they could even have called it a tax.

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Re: Anything to stop TV companies buying it?

Yes, the auction says what the frequencies MUST be used for (LTE mobile) and the frequencies are being offered in pairs (above and below a central guard band) that don't directly overlap the old TV channel numbers.

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Re: Anything to stop TV companies buying it?

The term is ConDem, not ConLib.

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MJI
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Re: Anything to stop TV companies buying it?

ConLib ConDem

Might be to you but Con/Lib is perfectly fine for me

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Happy

Re: Anything to stop TV companies buying it?

It's a con however you spell it

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FAIL

Oranges are not the only fruit.

Apparently if you have signed up to the £36 a month 4 g EE network, you bill won't be going down.

The 4G network can be used for so much more than just mobiles on the move. Its a shame that this will be forgotten about in the midst of punters being shafted by suppliers and another Govermnet uction thats bound to go wrong, cost taxpayers a fortune, and requests for pointless enquiries to be started.

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Re: Oranges are not the only fruit.

Company in "Lets honour the deal we made together" shocker, more news at 11.

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Re: Oranges are not the only fruit.

Mobile companies move the prices of their tariffs up and down all the time, and yes, you are stuck with what they were offering when you agreed to it for a reasonable period of time, yes.

Generally, though, they will allow you to switch from an old tariff to a current one of similar monthly cost. So if you have signed up for £36 a month, you are stuck with t£36 a month. However, you likely can get whatever data allowance is being offered to new customers for £36 a month rather than what you agreed to when you signed up. This is likely an improvement.

(Also, most carriers will allow you to switch to a lower tariff after 18 months of a 24 month contract. This isn't likely to help anyone on EE until May 2014 though).

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Re: Oranges are not the only fruit.

A minor revision: New for old account swapping only really works when you move UP the pay scale. Try moving your account to a cheaper one, and they'll be less accomodating, unless you're at renewal stage - and even then, expect to get hosed-by-stealth on the T&C's.

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FAIL

> the cost of data will have to increase (Americans already pay a good deal more than Brits, as does most of the world)

In what way does the rest of the world getting shafted worse than us mean we should get shafted more??

Stupidly small caps followed by utterly daft £perMB charges are just stupid but the only alternative the providers seem to understand is "unlimited" deals that they then lose money on. Why can't anybody seem to put together a £perGB deal at a sensible price??

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Flame

Excuse my ignorance but why not...

Nationalise all the airwaves.

Set up a "National Grid" to operate the core infrastructure

The Grid can sell wholesale chunks to Service Providers

This is the ways is once worked - you didn't have a contract with Cellnet or Vodafone, but with an SP. Perhaps you have two or three grid owners so the SPs can force competition in their market as well.

Ultimately all the SPs bidding for spectrum only puts up costs, which will be passed on to consumers, so how can that be in the best interests of the people. "But its raising £3Bn for the country" - hmm, since the public are paying it, that would be TAX then.

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Stop

What do you think MVNOs are?

There are effectively 4 private mobile networks and everyone else gets to piggyback on top of them. Having a single provider was tried in the past with fixed phones (BT/GPO) but there was no incentive to improve the network or cut costs.

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Evidence please

the cost of data will have to increase (Americans already pay a good deal more than Brits, as does most of the world)

Evidence for "the rest of the world" paying more for data than Britain. When I was last over in the UK I got 3 GB for £15 from Three on PAYG. Here in Germany I get 3 GB for € 15 which is about £13 so about 20 % cheaper or even cheaper on a PPP comparison.

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Re: Evidence please

You were sold down the swanny my friend - £15 from Three buys me unlimited data.

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Re: Evidence please

@Ed - I'm talking about PAYG top-up not contract. Technically, € 15 gets you "unlimited" here except you're throttled to GPRS once you exceed the agreed amount.

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Re: Evidence please

my good lady has a month to month sim only deal with Three and it costs £12.90 and includes unlimited data, 400 any network minutes, 2000 3 to 3 minutes and 5000 texts.

I have a £31 deal with 2000 any network minutes, 5000 3 to 3 minutes, unlimited data and 5000 texts with a Samsung Galaxy S3.

when speaking to the guy at sales about when 4G would be coming to Three he mentioned that there is an agreement with EE for the moment however once the auction is sorted they will be rolling out their own 4G network and always with unlimited data in mind for price plans such as my and my partners deals.

I would not expect this roll-out to hit Scotland till at least next year anyway to be frank however until my contract runs out(18 months, started in August last year) it's a moot point for me tbh.

will be nice to see if the rush of early adopters will create less congestion, not that i have actually noticed any to be honest.

However, yes it is generally speaking cheaper, especially with Three who truly kick ass when it comes to Data

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WTF?

Americans already pay a good deal more than Brits

Just because Americans are stu..., err sorry i mean putting up with it, doesnt mean us brits will. EE et al can shove 4G for that price, not only that- we dont even have 3G where i live, so i doubt 4G will be here before next century, which is odd because over twitter i am assured that my telecoms company is spending £1.5m per day on network improvements, i did ask what exactly they were spending it on, i am still waiting for an answer.

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Who cares? Who will pay?

The only people I know who discuss 3G, 4G/LTE etc. work in IT. Nobody else cares - they just want to update their FB status, play with Twitter, etc. - they neither know nor care which technology is used and they don't expect any increase in their monthly mobile bill. This is pretty much the same scenario as industry analysts described in the lead up to the 3G auction: Users expect new features and/or service improvements to be introduced over time but will not pay higher monthly charges.

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Re: Who cares? Who will pay?

I think charges will end up being what the market will bear. Right now there is a single 4G operator, a small list of compatible handsets and the fees are ludicrous.

If folks have any sense in these belt tightening times, they'll hang fire until data charges drop to a reasonable level and the whole market levels out. Will take a few years, mind.

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WTF?

Where's the incentive to start using it? If 4G is going to be lumbered with tiny amounts of data usage and overbloated costs, why should I move over to 4G? What's in it for me?

Tangent: GEE is an irish slang word for a certain part of a young lady (specifically downstairs, front) apparently. I wonder how popular EE 4GEE network is in Ireland??

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