Did Three bag a bargain?

The 4G auction is all over as we know and the winning bids are starting to appear online, however some news has come out which points to the fact Three might have bagged themselves a real bargain when it comes to the 1,800Mhz spectrum they plan to use for 4G services.

As part of the merger of Orange and T-Mobile the joint company now called EE had to sell a large chunk of this spectrum to be given permission to merge.


It was announced that Three had been picked to purchase this spectrum but until now we did not know exactly how much they paid.

However The Guardian and FT have reported that Three were sold this for…FREE…ZIP…NADDA…NOTHING!

Thoughts behind the sale were that EE didn’t want to sell the spectrum worth a reported £450m to O2 or Vodafone to help them increase their holding in the market so agreed with Three to transfer it to them instead.

It is also worth remembering that EE and Three are part of MBNL who are in charge of their 3G network share so this might have had an impact in the decision

It is also believed that EE were hoping that this deal would secure them more of the sought after 800Mhz spectrum but at the last minute Three also managed to match their holding at the entry price nailing them a massive bargain once again

Did Three bag a bargain?

He is the eighth richest person in the world with a fortune estimated by Forbes magazine at $31bn, but Li Ka-shing wears a cheap Seiko watch and still has an eye for a bargain. Sources have revealed that the frugal Hong Kong tycoon’s Three network acquired a large slice of spectrum from rival Everything Everywhere for a total of £0.

The deal, done just before this year’s 4G auction, in effect doubled the airwaves Three owns in the UK from 30 megahertz to 60MHz.

Analysts had estimated EE could raise up to £450m, and it is understood Vodafone and O2 were willing to offer sizeable sums. But EE decided its safest bet would be to give away the spectrum, which lies in the 1,800MHz band, to the UK’s smallest network.

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  • Woooaahhh! No wonder Three are happy to continue AYCE data and 4G for free.
    I don’t know how any of the other networks think they can compete, now that they have all come out and said they will not do unlimited data.
    All Three have to do is get their message out there.

  • weirdstuff

    Hmm, I don’t think 3 have committed to unlimited 4g, all they said is they wouldn’t charge extra for it / they would continue their existing plans. That could be read as ‘you can continue with unlimited 3g or you can sign on to a limited usage 4g plan’. Hopefully the 4g plan limit will be reasonable, like starting at 5-10 gig per month…

    • Daniel Carter

      We have spoken to Three who have said that AYCE is not going anywhere when 4G arrives so that 4G and AYCE will just work if you are on a plan with it

      • weirdstuff

        Correct me if I’m wrong but 3 don’t currently have ‘any’ 4g plans, right? So you can’t be on an AYCE plan which includes 4g yet. You can be on their current 3g AYCE plan but I doubt that 3 have anything written into the small print saying ‘we will automatically upgrade you to 4g’. Legaleaze I know, but true as far as I can see…