Bidders for 3G licenses announced

BT, NTL, One.Tel, Vodafone among applicants for next-generation mobile spectrum

Thirteen companies have applied to bid in the government's auction for 3G mobile licenses. Nine potential new entrants to the market joined the UK's four existing wireless network operators.

Five licenses for blocks of spectrum for 3G services are being auctioned. The license with the largest amount of spectrum has been reserved for a new entrant to the UK mobile telecoms market. "The prospect of one or more new mobile operators and the increased competition and innovation that this will bring is good news for UK consumers," stated Patricia Hewitt, small business and e-commerce minister.

The start date of the auction, along with the names of those companies qualifying to take part, will be announced next month. The auction itself will take place in a number of rounds over several weeks.

The companies applying to bid were: 3G UK, BT, Crescent Wireless, Epsilon, NTL Mobile, One.Tel Global Wireless, One2One, Orange 3G, SpectrumCo, TIW UMTS, Telefonica UK, Vodafone and WorldCom Wireless UK.

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