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The government has hampered the UK's economic recovery by delaying the UK's spectrum auction, it has been claimed.

Speaking to ISPreview.co.uk, Shadow Minister for Media Helen Goodman said the coalition should have backed Ofcom to sell 800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum back in 2010.

She noted that other countries around the world are already reaping the benefits of next-generation mobile broadband, and the UK has been left behind.

"Consumers need better mobile coverage, particularly in rural areas and the country needs more money," Ms Goodman stated.

"It is disappointing that it has taken the government 18 months to get on with the auction."

She said the sale of mobile spectrum will not only raise capital estimated to be between £2 and £4 billion, but also revenues of up to £300 million a year for the taxpayer.

"At a time of deep cuts to the public sector the government is in effect losing almost £1 million of revenue a day," the Labour MP stated.

"We will be one of the last major countries in Europe to get 4G coverage, which is shameful because Britain is one of the largest producers of mobile phone technology."

She called for Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt to press ahead with the spectrum auction and not be held up by threats of legal challenges from mobile broadband providers with vested interests.

Service provider Three has warned that a number of rivals with spare 3G capacity will attempt to hold up the 4G auction, allowing them to derive greater value from their existing spectrum.

And Ed Richards, Chief Executive at Ofcom, recently accused mobile networks of "holding back innovation and hampering growth".

"In their new Communications Green Paper the Secretary of State needs to make sure that Ofcom has all the powers it needs to regulate for a competitive market," Ms Goodman added.

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