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UK Wireless Service May Undercut Major Cell Companies with New Service

An article on Engadget, U.K. spectrum auction to enable low-cost fixed wireless services, might be great for travelers passing through England. It seems that next year, some small “fixed-wireless service providers” may pose a threat to major cell companies by offering low price calls in what are being called “coffee zones”.

The new services will be the beneficiaries of a spectrum auction, in which the British government will be selling off the “guard band” — frequencies left intentionally open when earlier frequencies were sold, in order to avoid interference. The government will let providers use the spectrum for any service, provided they keep it below 200 megamilliwatts.

The first company hoping to take advantage of this is the aptly named fixed-wireless provider Coffee Telecom, which plans to set up low-wattage cell towers in what it calls “coffee zones,” where cellular users will be able to roam from their existing service providers onto Coffee’s VoIP network. Of course, Coffee has to cut roaming agreements with the bigger providers — and win the auction.

But if it comes together, British callers willing to sacrifice some mobility for lower costs may soon find themselves making their mobile calls while standing still. All Coffee needs to do to complete the experience is install bright red boxes in their Coffee Zones — and make the service coin-operated, of course.

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