Hutchison U.K. CEO Bets on Government to Keep Spectrum Stance

Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (13)’s incoming Chief Executive Officer for its 3 U.K. unit said he will pay a “fair price” in the upcoming auction of mobile-phone frequencies if the government continues to promote competition.

“What we’re looking for is to make sure that the auction design is fair, does promote competition and doesn’t put 3 in a position where other people can take advantage,” David Dyson, who will succeed Kevin Russell as CEO in July, said in an interview today. “We will pay a fair price. We’re not looking for any favors here.”

U.K. regulator Ofcom said in March it wanted to maintain at least four national operators in the market. Hutchison’s 3 unit, the smallest of the four operators, said previously it may be forced out if it fails to win enough spectrum.

The auction, scheduled for the first quarter of 2012, will sell frequencies equivalent to three-quarters of the spectrum currently being used by operators. Carriers need the bandwidth to cope with surging data demand as users watch films and surf the Web on smartphones including Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone and handsets using Google Inc.’s Android system.

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