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Technology / Networks

Broadband providers face rate hike thanks to Ofcom

The UK’s leading mobile broadband providers EE, O2, Vodafone and Three may face a license fee hike under latest Ofcom proposals.

The communications regulator could revise fees paid for the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz spectrum bands, with a possible increase to a collective £223.3 million annually.

At present, the four pay a combined total of £64.4 million per year. EE would see the biggest hike, currently paying £24.9 million, which could rise to £75.6 million.

The figures come after the Government directed Ofcom to revise the spectrum fees in 2010 to more accurately reflect "market value".

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However, the decision is pending on the additional costs the operators will incur from their new obligation to provide voice coverage cross 90 percent of the UK.

The two spectrum bands in question are used to provide voice and data services through 2G, 3G and 4G technologies.

"In Ofcom’s view the ‘market value’ required under the Government Direction should reflect the value to an operator not holding the spectrum at present, as opposed to the value to the operator that currently holds the spectrum – in a similar way that the price paid by the winning bidder in an auction is typically set by how much the next highest bidder was willing to pay," said Ofcom in a statement.

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