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EEMA - the European Forum for Electronic Business - has expressed criticism and concern about the way in which the UK Government handled the auction of the 3G licenses in the Spring of 2000.

In EEMA’s opinion, the UK Government failed to achieve its objective ‘… to secure for the long-term benefit of UK customers and the national economy . . . sustained provision of third-generation services in the UK' and today submitted its comments concerning the consequences of the auction to the National Audit Office.

Stuart McRae, who sits on the EEMA board of directors and is chair of the association’s unified messaging interest group said “in our opinion, the UK auction process used to select the 3G licensees was not structured to provide the country with the best possible infrastructure for next generation wireless services, but instead to provide maximum revenue for the UK Government. Although this short-term approach benefited the country financially (resulting in a revenue of £22.5 billion, far exceeding the Government’s expectations of £1.5 billion) the prohibitively high license costs paid by the five licensees could be considered to be the ‘last straw’ in relation to the Telecommunications industry and were a catalyst in the lack of confidence in world markets in the sector.”

EEMA, the leading European not-for-profit e-Business association with the aim to further e-Business throughout Europe, felt that not only were the set-up costs prohibitively high, but that the cost of provision and support of five separate networks (possibly more than five times the cost of providing one) would further stretch the resources of the licensees, resulting in the cost being passed down to business and the consumer in the guise of higher charges. “The added cost of supporting the networks is a major concern” added Rick Chandler, also an EEMA board member and chair of EEMA’s wireless work group. “This is true not only in the UK but also in other European countries, in particular in France and Germany, where the respective Governments entered into the auction process, and revenues of £12 billion and £32 billion were achieved. The revenues in all three countries were seriously out of balance with the rest of Europe. Again, EEMA sees this as unfair to the licensee!
s and users alike” he concluded.

Also of concern were the potential interoperability issues that could evolve as a result of having five UK license holders, all of which will be engineered differently with different market aims, with each providing less coverage than the aggregated whole. EEMA believes that the best possible 3G technologies should be deployed for use by UK businesses and citizens in a way which is interoperable across Europe and feels that this goal was sacrificed in return for short-term financial gain by the UK government. “We look forward to the result of the National Audit Office investigation into this matter” concluded McRae.

The subject of 3G will be covered in depth in presentations, case studies and panel discussions at EEMA2001 - EEMA’s 14th Annual Conference to be held in Paris between 12th and13th June 2001, open to both EEMA members and non-members. The Unified Messaging Interest Group will also be discussing issues surrounding 3G at their meeting in Paris on 11th June. Visit http://www.eema/org for more information or contact EEMA at or by phoning +44 1386 793028.

About EEMA

EEMA - the European Forum for Electronic Business - was founded in 1987 and is the leading European not-for-profit e-Business association with the aim of pushing forward the boundaries of e-commerce, technology and legislation.
Its numerous Interest Groups, workshops, seminars and conferences each specialise in areas of current concern, to educate and inform EEMA Members on latest developments and technologies, at the same time enabling members of the association to compare views and ideas.
EEMA works closely with governmental bodies, standards organisations and e-Business initiatives throughout Europe and is an instrumental force in moving European business towards working electronically. Visit or contact

About EEMA’s Unified Messaging Interest Group

The Unified Messaging Interest Group was formed to bring together the EEMA activities relating to Wireless, IP telephone, e-mail and the underlying messaging infrastructure. The Group’s mission is to enable and encourage the deployment of future electronic messaging and communications solutions by bringing together users, vendors and standards makers to share information and ideas, define requirements, and identify obstacles to their adoption. Activities include the creation of educational material in the area of Wireless Data and WAP, providing guidance on the level of service a customer should expect of a Business Quality e-Mail Service, and investigating ways of providing users with information on the services that they can expect.

The Wireless Work Group is a sub-section of EEMA’s Unified Messaging Interest Group, looking specifically at the area of European wireless technology and the implications of use.


Note to press :- Stuart McRae is available for interview. Please contact for more information initially.

Press Contact :-
Ruth Cattell
Direct Tel. +44 1384 374008
Direct Fax. +44 7970 146369

EEMA Tel +44 1386 793028

EEMA Fax. +44 1386 793028

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of EEMA in the following categories: Consumer Technology, Personal Finance, Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit