Three Mobile says 5G auction will define the firm's ability to challenge the market

 
Oliver Gill
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Three Mobile chief exec Dave Dyson is keen to secure as much of the 5G spectrum as he can

The boss of Three Mobile said today the outcome of the UK's 5G auction will be vital for the mobile operator's future.

Britain's fourth largest mobile phone firm reported its annual results, growing earnings by eight per cent and adding 213,000 customers during the year.

During 2016, European competition authorities blocked Three's £10.3bn bid for rival O2.

Telecoms regulator Ofcom has confirmed the UK's 5G spectrum auction will go ahead in 2017, though precise dates are still to be finalised.

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Competitor EE's bidding is set to be capped due to its current sector dominance after being purchased by BT.

Three's chief executive Dave Dyson said the auction will be key in its attempt to steal a march on competition:

We look forward to the outcome of the next spectrum auction which will be vital in determining our ability to continue to challenge the market for the benefit of all UK consumers.

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Three bumped up its indoor coverage to 95 per cent across Britain, up from 78 per cent in 2011. It also said it had saved customers £2.4bn by ditching roaming charges across 42 countries.

Annoying

Dyson added: “We’ve continued to make significant progress toward tackling the issues that frustrate and annoy mobile users in the UK."

Three is owned by CK Hutchison, which is backed by Hong Kong's richest man Li Ka-shing. The telecoms and energy conglomerate said its earnings had been hit by weakening European currencies as a result of economic and political turbulence in 2016.

Li said CK Hutchison would take a more reserved approach to the year ahead.

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