I think spectrum auctions are ok in principle, but in practice, has resulted in massive debt burdens on operators in the industry.
This money simply must come from somewhere. It will be in consumer prices, in reduced infrastructure spend, and R&D. R&D in particular is always seen by big management as the least necessary.
This is disastrous long term. It is far better to come up with rental type model maybe, rather than this sort of lump sum deposits. I don't think Governments ever spend money wisely, democracy or not, so large sums of pocket money like this is not doing good for the countries.
The UK used to be a leader in cellular industry technology, but ever since the 3G auctions, a number of R&D and deployment type projects have moved elsewhere.
American consumers today have LTE, and they are now slowly driving the industry. Inevitably real world tests in LTE development now happen in the US and mainland Europe, making the case for UK based development very weak.
This will leave UK the follower, where once it was the leader in this particular industry. There is already talk of fitting the LTE frequency bands to that of other countries.
I fear it is already too late for the UK.
The same is now beginning in India. A case of greed, but this time from government, not big business. I don't think by any measure, can one say that growth of this industry will not be dented. It is basic accountancy, your costs are artificially being driven up. Without larger revenues, growth will be dented.
It is worse in the case of India, where infrastructure spend is already weak, and should be encouraged. It will now make more sense for operators to load more users at lower call qualities for eg..