There is less agreement on how spectrum should be apportioned between different companies. Even within the normally strict EU, national regulators are free to decide how many operators the spectrum should be split between and who those operators should be. Worldwide, four approaches have been used so far: beauty contests, lotteries, auctions, and a free-for-all.
Also known as comparative bidding, beauty contests are the traditional method of licensing. Each potential operator must submit a business plan to the government or regulator, detailing the kind of services it intends to provide. Applicants are judged on criteria such as pricing, quality, technology, and competitiveness, usually with the aim of protecting ...