Rolling out the mobile future

Rolling out the mobile future

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Over a decade ago, the UK government was the leading nation in the planned deployment of 3G services. The Department for Trade and Industry formulated an auction process that would yield billions for the Treasury and set an express timetable for the rollout of these services in the UK. However, for the operators this left a dilemma. The existing four UK mobile providers felt obligated to participate in the auction to gain access to the new spectrum that would enable 4G services to work. The cost would have to be recouped from consumers, but how? Several attempts were made to introduce consumer services, such as music and ringtone downloads. Video calls looked promising, but the operators simply could not make the numbers add up. They were out of their comfort zone when it came to provisioning and developing consumer services on the feature phones that existed in the pre-smartphone era.

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