Tuesday, April 25, 2006

UK spectrum awards

No valuation available until everyone pays up, but here are the winners of the single round, sealed bid auction last week. Besides the usual suspects and newcomers, I note with particular interest the presence of O2 and Opal (Carphone Warehouse) in the winners' circle. Also see Dean Bubley's insightful run-down from a few weeks back, in which he highlights apparent connections between Pipex and Cyberpress, another of today's winners.

UPDATE: Dean now has a predictably worthwhile followup here. I agree with him right down the line. BT's oft-cited research states that 30% of all outgoing cellular calls in the UK are made within the home, and I think a cursory analysis of time use would suggest that another 30% may be made in "nomadic" situations, such as at work or on the university campus. Will we see a university, for example, teaming up with an aggressive mobile player to deliver a lower-cost calling plan for students while on campus?

That's just one of the things I envisage happening in the consumer space, and Dean's right when he says that businesses will find this empowering. Here at Daiwa, our corporate mobile account provider is Vodafone, and there are a number of pico-cells throughout the building. I frequently see guys from IT down in the basement, going into the server room, fielding calls from colleagues two floors up, and I try not to think about what we might be paying for that convenience. Assuming it's too much, then I guess Telefonica/O2 salesmen may be knocking on the door sometime soon. Our IT department has shown no inclination yet to set up WiFi APs, but a "devil-you-know" solution using friendly old GSM might be just the sort of thing they can get excited about.

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