EE, Vodafone, O2, Three and BT are 4G auction winners

Three secured place as fourth major 4G network

Three, O2, Vodafone and BT have all secured themselves a slice of the 4G pie with a total of £2.3bn paid to the government, rollouts are expected this summer

EE, Vodafone, Three, BT and O2 have all secured a UK 4G network with Three, Vodafone and O2 all expected to roll out their new services in Spring or Summer 2013.

Vodafone, which has seen an influx of 4G handsets like the BlackBerry Z10, HTC One and the Sony Xperia Z, spent the most on securing the bands spending £790m.

Three has also secured a 4G network after it controversially revealed it would be offering existing customers access to its 4G network at no extra cost, starkly contrasting with EE which offers 4G at a premium.

Alarmingly for the Government the amount raised from the auction was considerably less than the £3.5bn which was predicted and a huge drop compared to the sale of 3G which raised £22bn.

While this will no doubt come as a relief to the mobile networks, telecoms expert Ernest Doku from uSwitch is wary that this might not stop networks from still charging a premium.

"While George Osborne won’t be too impressed with the amount raised by the auction, it has clearly been expensive for some providers. What is important is that this extra expense isn’t passed onto customers - especially in the form of tariff price rises. While some providers claim not to be imposing a premium for 4G, it’s vital that prices remain affordable for those unwilling - or unable - to make the big switch."

EE will be looking to capitalise on this brief window after ITPro reported that the company had lost over 230,000 people on PAYG but managed to add 201k in pay monthly customers.

Source: ITPro, Ofcom