NAO to probe 4G auction for ‘value for money’


The National Audit Office (NAO) is to investigate whether the UK government got value for money from the auction of 4G licences

The National Audit Office (NAO) is to look into the 4G auction as it failed to raise the expected revenue for the UK government.

The auction of 4G licences earlier this year raised £2.3 billion from successful bidders O2, Vodafone, EE and Three, £1.2 billion less than the treasury had forecast.

The Guardian reported it had seen a letter from the NAO’s auditor general, Amyas Morse to Labour MP and shadow minister for media and communications Helen Goodman, in which Morse said she intends to conduct a “value for money” study into the auction.

“By not making maximising the auction’s revenues an objective for Ofcom, the government has failed to get value for money on this project,” Morse said.

Ofcom said during the auction that its priority was to ensure a competitive mobile market for UK consumers.

The Guardian quoted Goodman as welcoming the investigation. The MP said: “Serious questions must be answered as to why the Conservative-led government ended up £1 billion short of the estimate George Osborne had provided just months earlier.

“When the 3G auction took place, Labour ensured that maximising revenue was an objective. The Conservative-led government did not do the same for the 4G auction, which I believe was a serious mistake.”