Union says 4G mobile auction has called into question competence of Chancellor, George Osborne

Tim Lezard

Mobile phoneThe CWU says the 4G mobile auction has called into question the competence of the Chancellor, George Osborne.

Ofcom confirmed yesterday that BT, Everything Everywhere, Telefonica O2, Vodafone and Hutchison were the successful bidders in the auction for high-speed 4G spectrum.

However, the £2.4bn proceeds were far less than the £3.5bn projected by the Office for Budget Responsibility and quoted by George Osborne in last year’s Autumn Statement.

Billy Hayes, CWU general secretary, said: “UK taxpayers will soon be able to enjoy quicker download speeds and enhanced mobile services, but they have been cheated of a billion pounds which should have gone into public finances.

“In short, good service but shame about the tariff.

“The billion pound shortfall calls into question the competency of the Chancellor in using this projected income in last year’s Autumn Statement.

“The auction was a one-off opportunity to bolster public finances in return for the private sector gaining a valuable asset and one which the government wrote into the heart of its budget.

“But it has failed to ensure value for the taxpayer and once again exposed shortcomings in the government’s economic policy.”

CWU has been pushing for 4G services in order that the UK keeps pace with competitor countries which have already introduced high-speed mobile services, such as America, Australia and Scandinavian countries.

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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