The UK 4G Spectrum Auction: Fusing Economic Regulation and Engineering

26 September 2013, 5.15 PM - 26 September 2013, 5.15 PM

Venue: Pugsley Lecture Theatre, Queens Building, University Walk. Speaker: H Nwana, ex-Group Director, Ofcom

The Centre for Doctoral Training in Communications is hosting a public Lecture entitled 'The UK 4G Spectrum Auction: Fusing Economic Regulation and Engineering' being given by H Nwana on Thursday 26th September 2013.


Most would have heard about the relative recent (February 2013) and very successful UK 4G spectrum auction which raised £2.34 Billion, or perhaps all you heard about is that the auction did the not raise what the Government expected. The speaker will explain why and what made this auction a triumph of good economic regulation and how UK consumers and citizens are already benefiting from it so soon after the auction. The lecture will briefly introduce good economic spectrum regulation, and how a regulator interprets its duties to regulate for it.

However, this lecture goes beyond this. What is rarely covered publicly is the solid engineering that underpins a critical spectrum auction like the 4G one:

The UK 4G auction was also a triumph for the fusion of solid telecommunications and software engineering along with good economics and economic regulation. It is not a question of which is more important – both equally are. This lecture argues and concludes unequivocally that multi-disciplinary training is vital to engage such real world and complex projects like designing and running a complex auction in particular or running good spectrum policy for the UK in general. The lecture neither assumes much technical background nor economic expertise.

Speaker biography:

H Nwana, FBCS, FIET, CEng, CITP became Group Director of Spectrum policy at Ofcom in 2009 where he has recently been responsible for overall leading of the recent 4G spectrum auction in the UK that raised £2.34 Billion. He has also led significantly on spectrum clearances including the Analogue to Digital Switchover (DSO) in the United Kingdom, particularly the switchovers of Channels 61, 62 and 69 from TV to mobile use. He led Ofcom's Spectrum Policy Group, which oversees all UK airwaves for broadcast, mobile and other communications services. Before that, he worked at transmissions firm Arqiva, as managing director, mobile media solutions. He was also an executive director at Quadriga Worldwide and a senior manager at BT Laboratories at Adastral Park, which is now known as BT Innovate.

Dr Nwana holds an MA from Queens' College Cambridge, a first degree in Computer Science & Electronic Engineering from the University of Birmingham, an MSc in Computer Science, and a PhD in Artificial Intelligence/Computer Science from Aston University, Birmingham. He also holds an MBA with distinction from the London Business School, University of London. He holds a Visiting Industrial Professor appointment at the University of Bristol (Electrical & Electronic Engineeering and at Brunel University (Computer Science) in West London. He has published several scientific tomes, and is well cited; he is one of the most cited non-academic computer scientists. He has been an academic, a Principal Research Scientist and manager, a venture capitalist, held several industry executive roles and been a senior regulator.  He is currently writing a book on Telecommunications, Media and Technology (TMT) for Emerging Economies. He recently resigned from Ofcom to return to the private sector.


This is a free public lecture but booking is requested.

The lecture will be followed by a reception at 6.15pm.

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