3 Ireland will line up for 4G licence auction

22 May 2012

3 Ireland, backed by Hutchison Whampoa of Kong Kong, will participate in the Republic’s planned auction of 4G mobile licences this summer, despite losing out in its quest to take control of former monopoly fixed line operator Eircom, the Irish Independent reports. The paper quotes unnamed sources as saying that the company remains committed to the Irish mobile market, despite press rumours over the water suggesting that its British counterpart is considering exiting the market unless it is guaranteed a slice of the UK spectrum – a situation which could have wide-reaching implications for the smaller Irish operation. The Sunday Times carried a story at the weekend claiming that Hutch’s managing director Canning Fok, told prime minister David Cameron that the group would stop investing and maybe even exit the UK market, if it failed to secure ‘ring-fenced radio spectrum’ at the auction. No sources were provided at the time, and a spokesperson for Hutchison Whampoa has since dismissed the claims as ‘totally untrue and groundless.’