Everything Everywhere, O2, Three and Vodafone are likely to face competition from new entrants in the 2012 spectrum auction, which could include BT, Sky and Virgin.
Telecoms analyst Phil Kendall of Strategy Analytics said that although the 2012 4G spectrum auction will not reserve any spectrum for new entrants to bid for, as the 3G spectrum auction did in 2000, new entrants will still able to bid in the auction.
Phil Kendall, telecoms analyst at Strategy Analytics said: ‘The lack of a separate block of spectrum will not block new entrants from bidding for 4G but they will need to be very serious and will need deeper pockets to bid in the auction.’
Kendall said BT, Sky and Virgin could all consider setting up consortia to bid against the four incumbents for spectrum.
He said: ‘They are all active in the UK market and having their own mobile network may make sense to them - there is definitely enough in there for new operators to want to come in.’
Kendall said it is likely overseas operators may join in the bidding as part of a consortia led by UK based telecom companies.
He said: ‘I would think any significant telco in the UK is looking at this and thinking ‘Is there a role for me?’ and looking for partners overseas to come in as a consortium partner.’