Everyone is talking about how this is the year of the mobile (this has been said every year now for a number of years so don’t get too excited), and now Ofcom, has revealed that the next 12 months could be an exciting time for consumers and an expensive time for mobile operators.
The number of people owning smart phones has risen to 12.8 million (May 2010) with 1 million new users accessing the internet via their mobile phones in the first quarter of 2010 (which equates to 13.5 million users in total). However as anyone who uses their phone to surf the web will attest to, even with 3G the service can be slow. This is about to change as Ofcom have announced a consultation on how best to sell off the rights to the next generation (4G) of mobile wireless networks.
This could prove to a boost to be a government that is concerned about the deficit, as the last time Ofcom held an auction for the rights to 3G in 2000 it netted the treasury a cool £22.5bn and although the auction wouldn’t be held until the first part of 2012 it could be a great moneymaker. Observers are being cautious stating that the auction might not prove as profitable this time round quoting the events in Germany. In 2000 the German government raised €50bn when it auctioned off 4G last year however it raised a meagre €4.3bn.
Whatever the price 4G promises to continue to push mobile media usage and for consumers will be a welcome development.