UK’s competitive mobile market will protect consumers claims Ofcom

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Ofcom’s decision of raising mobile spectrum fees has left carriers in the UK completely outraged. The communications regulator on Friday published a consultation on increasing the proposed license fees for mobile spectrum.

Ofcom said that it was the government who ordered for the consultation in 2010 to revise the annual fees paid by the mobile network operators for two spectrum bands – 900 MHz and 1800. This may result in operators paying up to four times than the current annual fees. Some analysts are even concerned as hike in fees might see consumers taking the price hike brunt.

Responding to the analyst’s concerns Ofcom said that it believes that the stiff competition among the four leading UK mobile operators should discourage mobile operating companies from putting up higher prices.

Under the new proposal EE will have to pay £107.1m instead of £24.9m, Vodafone and O2 to pay £83.1m instead of £15.6m and Three UK will end up paying £35.7m instead of £8.3m. If implemented, the hike will be effective from 2014.

Ofcom’s spokesperson told Wired.co.uk that UK is one of the most competitive markets when it comes to mobile phones and this the factor that will ensure that consumers don’t face the brunt of the price hike.

“Our proposed fees are in line with analysts’ expectations and with the amounts that operators pay for accessing spectrum in other countries, so should come as no surprise to the mobile companies” said Ofcom.

Ofcom has put the proposal under consultation – ending December 19 – and has said that if carriers have good enough argument against the price hike “will listen to them.”