Basingstoke MP Maria Miller defends criticised 4G auction after it makes £1bn less than planned

BASINGSTOKE MP and Culture Secretary Maria Miller has said she is pleased with the outcome of the much-criticised 4G auction process.

Telecoms regulator Ofcom revealed that the auction has raised £2.34billion – £1.2bn less than The Office for Budget Responsibility had expected, and far less than the £22bn raised from the 3G auction in 2000.

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

The shortfall has political implications because Chancellor George Osborne included £3.5bn worth of 4G auction receipts in his Autumn Statement in December.

Labour MP Rachel Reeves, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said: “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.”

However, Mrs Miller, pictured, is confident that 4G mobile broadband, which should provide smartphone and tablet computer users with superfast download speeds, will provide great benefits.

She 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.”

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