What the 4G auction means for you: which networks won and lost?

What the network said

"Today, Telefónica has made a significant investment in next-generation 4G technology for the UK. While 4G will indeed allow for faster data speeds and a more seamless mobile experience, it is our intention to go beyond what has already been offered in the market and give our customers a unique and exclusive range of digital experiences, marking a new generation for the mobile industry.

So what should I do if I want 4G?

Well, if price matter most to you, Three currently has the strongest proposition by promising not to hike up its prices when it deploys 4G – but then again, only it and EE have anything that resembles a 4G price.

It looks like Vodafone has gone the hardest in terms of creating a new 4G network – it will have a strong presence in all areas, as well as being able to streamline its cost base through using 4G at the back end too.

EE has solidified its presence in the 4G area thanks to nabbing spectrum in all the key areas, but questions will be raised long term over whether it will have enough spectrum to serve the country-dwellers if more start getting their data on.

O2 could struggle to supply data to the same levels of the competition in cities if it can't create a truly ubiquitous network that can mitigate the lack of 4G – it will be interesting to see how this network chooses to bring 4G in other ways, as it could end up behind the competition in years to come otherwise.

But the good news is that the end is near – sure, we still have to wait for all the spectrum location to be allocated (which has an effect on efficiency and coverage) but now consumers can look forward to the second half of 2013 when we can really see competitive services being launched that will supercharge your mobile phone, tablet and computer speeds.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.