At present, EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three UK pay £64.5 million a year in licensing fees. Following the revaluation of the spectrum based on the recent 4G auction, Vodafone and O2’s annual rent could go up £83.1 million, Three to £37.5 million and EE will jump to £101.7 million.
Consultations on the plans will continue up until 19th December, when the decision will be made whether to go ahead with the plans that could cause a massive increase in the prices charged to customers and affect the amount of money available to invest in the improvement of infrastructure and innovation.
Robin Kent, director of European operations at Adax, said: “For some time now, although perhaps not quite as much as in the past, telecom operators have almost been tarred with the same brush as bankers: stacking up profits whilst providing poor service.
“This is an outdated view and operators generally provide a good network service. But the main reason for them being able to do that is by reinvesting profits in infrastructure investment that have been low in previous years because of the global financial crisis and the wait for 4G, and it is only just now starting to recover.
“If a large chunk was taken out of those operator profits, which these spectrum increase, I would have real concerns about operators maintaining increased expenditure on infrastructure. That will affect jobs in the telecom network manufacturing, installation and managed services industries, and ultimately the quality of the network service could suffer.”