Five questions answered on Ofcom’s sale of 4G

A lot of disappointment.

Photograph: Getty Images

Ofcom has announced it has completed the sale of 4G mobile spectrum, raising less money than expected. We answer five questions on the deal.

How much did Ofcom sell 4G for?

Telcoms regulator Ofcom raised £2.34bn from the sale at auction. This is much less than the £22bn raised from the 3G auction in 2000.

How much was 4G expected to go for?

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) had forecast that the auction would raise £3.5bn for the Treasury.

Who were the buyers?

Everything Everywhere; Hutchison 3G UK; Niche Spectrum Ventures, a BT subsidiary; Telefonica (O2); and Vodafone, were the winning bidders.

What are people saying?

They are mostly expressing disappointment.

Rachel Reeves MP, Labour's shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, told the BBC: "This is yet another blow to George Osborne's failing economic plan. It shows how foolish and short-termist the chancellor was to bank this cash in the Autumn Statement to make his borrowing figures look less bad.”

While Tory John Redwood, MP, told the BBC: "The figure for the 4G auction was optimistic, just like most of the numbers in George Osborne's strategy. This is a dent, but there are far bigger dents in the public finances."

What are the further forecasted benefits of 4G?

As well as providing smartphone and tablet computer users with superfast download speeds, 4G, according to Ofcom, will provide £20bn of benefits for UK consumers over the next 10 years.

Maria Miller speaking to the BBC said: "Spectrum use is worth more than £50bn to the UK economy and 4G mobile broadband is a key part of our digital growth strategy, so I am delighted the auction has been completed."