英国4G频谱拍卖 衙门居然没得赚?

No bonanza for the government, but that might be no bad thing
这一次衙门估计没得赚,不过或许不是什么坏事
Just under 13 years ago the fax machines at the Radio communications Agency were humming. For weeks they spewed out bids for five licences to run third-generation (3G) mobile-phone services. The sums went up and up: in the end 22.5 billion pounds ($35.9 billion) poured into Gordon Brown’s Treasury. For both companies and governments, these are more sober times. On February 20th Ofcom, the telecoms regulator (into which the agency was subsumed in 2003), said that an auction of spectrum to be used for much faster 4G services had raised only 2.3 billion pounds.
13年前,英国无线电通讯技术局的传真机嗡嗡作响。几周内,这里前后向外派发5张第三代手机运营服务牌照(3G牌照)。后来这一服务收益不断上涨,最终到布朗政府时代,财政收益达225亿英镑(约合359亿美元)。然而如今无论是公司还是政府都清醒了不少:今年2月20日,英国电信管理部门,2003年并入无线电通讯技术局的英国通信管理局表示,比3G更快的4G服务的频谱拍卖仅上涨了23亿英镑。
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No one had expected another bonanza, but George Osborne, a chancellor of the exchequer who needs the cash much more than Mr Brown did, had been counting on 3.5 billion pounds. The outcome might be less welcome to the Treasury, but it is better for the industry—and perhaps its customers, too.

大家都不再期待电信领域会再挖出一个金矿来。不过财政大臣乔治·奥斯本可不这样看。因为比起布朗,他现在手头并不宽裕。奥斯本还需要35亿英镑。然而4G服务的销售结果并不能让英国财政部满意。不过这对于工业领域来说是个好事,而工业本身或许就是4G通讯服务的消费者。
Ofcom declared five winners: the four companies with 3G networks plus BT, Britain’s biggest fixed-line operator. One of the four, EE, which is jointly owned by Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom-Orange, has been running 4G services since the autumn, having won permission from Ofcom to use spectrum it already had. BT has no plans to build a national mobile network, but intends to enhance its existing broadband and Wi-Fi services. Ofcom expects services on the new spectrum to begin in the spring or early summer.
英国通信管理局表示,如今这个局面下有五大赢家:四家3G网络公司和英国最大的固定电话运营商BT公司。前四家中的EE公司是由德国电信和法国典型合资经营的,它已经从英国通信管理局那里拿到了频谱许可权。BT公司则并不打算建造覆盖全英的移动通讯网,不过它计划加强现有的宽带和无线网络服务。英国通信管理局希望新的频谱服务能在今年春天或是初夏时分就能启动。
The 3G auction came at the height of the dotcom frenzy, when inflated prices were being paid for assets in telecoms and information technology. The agency also reserved a block of spectrum for a new entrant: that intensified competition and raised prices across the board. Moreover, mobile operators reasoned that without 3G they would have no business at all. “The operators were paying for their survival,” says Matthew Howett of Ovum, a research firm. They were left without the money to deploy 3G quickly, to the disgruntlement of customers and shareholders. Others have proved more adept at providing other mobile services, such as search and music, than the operators were themselves.
3G服务拍卖适逢互联网发展的高潮,彼时购买电信信息技术产品的价格也有虚高之嫌。无线电通讯技术局还特地留了一手:加剧竞争和全线上调价格。进一步讲,用移动运营商们的总结来说,没有3G技术,他们就毫无生意可做。欧文研究所的马修·郝威特表示:“3G技术对运营商们来说生死攸关。”如果不能尽快完成3G服务的布局,运营商将带着顾客和股东们的不满从这个市场出局。而其他的参与者已经显示出他们比运营商本身更能玩转3G服务,比如他们能提供搜索和音乐等其他移动服务。
Last time, points out John Delaney of IDC, another research firm, the British spectrum auction was one of the first. This time bidders have been able to gauge the going rate from sales in France and Germany. As a group, they have ended up paying a little less—although, in a complicated process, some seem to have done better than others.
另一家研究所互联网数据中心的约翰·德兰尼指出,3G刚出来时,英国吃了第一只螃蟹,拍出了第一张频谱;而这一次投标人还能参考法国和德国的市场。德法联盟开出的价码更便宜,而且在某些复杂的程序上,德法做的更出色。
Britain was slower to start deploying 4G than many other countries, but its ministers, regulator and operators are keen to make up the ground. Having avoided overpaying, the operators can now get cracking.
比起其他许多国家,英国这次的4G拍照发放慢了一些。不过内阁大臣们、监管部门和运营商们都期待能有所作为。为了避免出价过高,运营商们已经在有所动作了。


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