Spectrum fee fears
(Guardian (UK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Mobile networks are facing a fivefold jump in the cost of renting spectrum from the government, amid warnings that the rise will be passed on to customers and hamper investment in 4G.
Licence fees will be increased to pounds 309m a year, from pounds 64.4m now, under proposals from the regulator Ofcom. The fees apply to spectrum given away by the government in the early years of the mobile industry, before the 3G auction attracted bids worth billions.
The government wants a price hike from next year to reflect the value of a scarce resource that has become essential in the age of the smartphone, but there are fears customers could pay a high price for the Treasury's windfall.
Adam Kirby, from price comparison site uSwitch, said:"Our concern is that it will be mobile users who are left to foot the bill, and it isn't clear if there will be any direct benefits to them."
(c) 2013 Guardian Newspapers Limited.
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