'No money back' for 3G winners

Is that winners or whingers?
Written by Heather McLean, Contributor

Is that winners or whingers?

The government has once again ruled out giving the UK's 3G winners any sort of rebate on the vast sums they paid out for their licences, despite recent moves by French officials to ease the financial burden on its 3G players. Despite the French government's about-turn on 3G costs yesterday, UK licence holders cannot expect a refund, a spokesman from the Radiocommunications Agency, an executive agency of the DTI, confirmed today. He said: "Companies decided what to pay for their licences through auction and would have been aware of the costs of implementing the networks when they paid for the licences." Lars Godell, European telecoms analyst at Forrester Research, said: "Seen from the perspective of British shareholders, the operators and the British public, it would be good if the money could be returned. However, in the rules of fair play the money should not be returned." He added: "We need accountability for the mistakes we make. The British telcos now have to live with the consequences." Godell said if the money raised by the auctions had not yet been spent by the government, it should be invested in 'Broadband Britain'. He said: "This money should have been invested in broadband access for all in the UK in the first place so schools, libraries and public services can get public access. Broadband Britain is just a lot of talk. Britain is at the bottom of the broadband charts in Europe." Those hopeful of a financial reprieve from the UK government are BT, Hutchison 3G, One2One, Orange and Vodafone.
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