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The 4G auction: What it means for PR

Posted by Darren Willsher on 20th February 2013

4G – it’s like 3G, but faster

It’s safe to say any tech PR types hoping to send out mobile news today would have spent the morning swearing – if you’ve managed to miss it, Ofcom has announced the results of the 4G Spectrum auction.

For the most part it’s as expected; the big operators got in on the deal, but there’s a new entrant with BT – likely to use its allocation to supplement mobile broadband services.

There’s a lot of decent write-ups out there already and you’re on a PR blog after all, so I won’t go into the finer points, but what does this mean for us telecoms PR types?

Well the 4G story has been around for a while now, but the main challenges faced by the operators are rolling out their new networks – and then making sure they deliver on what people expect.

I’ve already written about how 4G should give operators the chance to change how they charge, with OTT services (Over the top – think video and extra content on top of the basic voice and data) having a big role to play here. Instead of just charging for nondescript data, there’s the chance to bundle in video and music – showing off what 4G can do and justifying the cost to consumers.

For those in the equipment side there’s another big opportunity – with a decent chunk of the 2.6Ghz range sold off, small cells and targeted network capacity is going to have a big role to play. Those working in 800Mhz will stand a better chance of getting through building walls, but as a recent client study found, data rates already drop by 50% when you go indoors, and that won’t improve on 4G.

Which makes it rather timely that Keith Dyer of former Mobile Europe fame, has launched his new venture. As a PR who works with tech companies a few steps removed from consumer devices, it’s great to have another place that looks at the wider spread of technology and what will impact the network and its users both now and in the future. There’s a lot of interesting stuff happening out there and personally I’d rather read about the latest technology that’s going to improve battery life or give me access to mobile video on the go – it’s either that or we have to read through another 24,432 stories about an Apple watch that probably won’t exist.


Darren Willsher

Darren has been with Wildfire for six years and is one of the driving forces behind the agency’s telecoms and networking portfolio, with experience working on a range of international, multi-channel accounts including CSR, Picochip (now Mindspeed), Real Wireless, The Small Cell Forum, Samsung and Allied Telesis.