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Licence acquisition strategy in the European mobile communications industry

Whalley, J.L. and Curwen, P.J. (2003) Licence acquisition strategy in the European mobile communications industry. Telecommunications Policy, 5 (6). pp. 45-57. ISSN 0308-5961

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As the repercussions of 3G licensing reverberate across the telecommunications industry, it has frequently been speculated that the European mobile communications industry is about to consolidate around a handful of players. However, many of these speculative comments fail to take into account either the scale of the players concerned or how they have acquired licences in the past. In this paper, we establish licence ownerships patterns, identifying in the process 13 multiple licence owners that collectively own 161 of the 225 second and third generation licences that have been offered to date across Europe. The multiple licence owners are then categorised by their scale and geographical focus, demonstrating in the process the considerable variation that occurs in both of these areas.