Ten companies bidding for 3.4GHz BFWA licences

9 Jun 2003

The UK government on Friday began the auction of 15 broadband fixed wireless access (BFWA) licences in the 3.4GHz spectrum, attracting bids totalling GBP2.23 million from ten different companies by the end of the day. According to analysts at Total Telecom, Hong-Kong-based Pacific Century Cyberworks (PCCW) was the only company to place bids for all 15 licences. The licences covering the Greater London, Midlands and Northern licences have been given a reserve of GBP300,000 each, with bidding for the other twelve concessions starting at the lower price of GBP100,000. Two of companies to have initially expressed an interest – Cambridge Broadband and WW Broadband – have already withdrawn from the process; the ten remaining bidders are WBNET, KBL Online, BlueNoWhere, MLL Telecom, Nomad Spectrum, Red Spectrum, Public Hub, Irish Broadband Internet Services, Albion Wireless and PCCW’s unit Poundraise.

The auction is the second attempt by the UK government to sell off BFWA licences, following an unsuccessful effort in 2001 which failed to generate a significant amount of interest. In a bid to attract more bids the second time around, some of the restrictions on the use of the licences have been lifted. For example, operators will not be penalised for delaying rollout of services and will be able to use the concessions to provide backhaul for 3G operators.

United Kingdom