Spectrum is the key resource in the mobile network game. It is what the operators paid billions of pounds (arguably too much too soon) each for during the 3G auctions. Users for the services weren’t there and nor were the handsets that would encourage bandwidth consumption.
It is a different game today. Don’t be surprised to see even greater sums of money paid for 4G spectrum. It would be commercial suicide for a mobile operator to not have any.
Spectrum when allocated is then divided into 20MHz bandwidth slots. 20MHz of spectrum allows for an 80Mbps data throughput using LTE. If you double this to a 40MHz slot you double the throughput. The higher the spectrum frequency you have therefore the more capacity your network can handle.
The downside is that the higher the spectrum frequency the lower the range and the harder it is to penetrate objects such as buildings. The lower frequencies are preferred for rural deployments – Vodafone in Germany used 800MHz for this. There isn’t a “right mix” of spectrum to own however. Vodafone operates in 30 markets and each market has different spectrum requirements.
That’s all folks…