Today, anyone can be a winner of sorts, provided they show up with a plucky, give-it-a-go, can-do attitude. It doesn't matter anymore whether you finish first or last, or if you can draw well or not, everyone gets a medal, or it all gets stuck on the fridge with a gold star for effort, an A+ for attitude, and a big fat dollop of schmaltz.
Which is why it was a refreshing change to see some good old-fashioned winners and losers this week, when Ofcom revealed the results of its belated and highly-anticipated LTE auction.
Now, my attitude could be indicative of a certain lack of prowess during childhood in the fields of sports, academia, and art. Or, it might just be that I'm suffering from Mobile World Congress burn-out when I haven't so much as sipped any Sangria yet (more on MWC 2013 later).
Anyway, back to the auction, and poor MLL Telecom and PCCW-owned HKT failed to secure any spectrum whatsoever, and will have to come up with new grand plans for shaking up the U.K. mobile market.
However, even some of the so-called 'winners' were actually sort-of losers, depending on which chunks of spectrum they came away with.
One of the participants that could struggle to compete in the LTE market at least in the short-term is O2, which won the 2x10 MHz of 800-MHz spectrum that comes with a coverage obligation, but missed out on 2.6 GHz spectrum altogether.
"As LTE uptake and usage gather pace, [Telefonica] O2's lack of 2.6-GHz spectrum might start to impact on their ability to keep pace with demand in local areas of especially high usage," warned IDC research director John Delaney, in an email to Total Telecom.
"I say 'might' because there are already techniques for increasing capacity on 800 MHz, such as active antenna, and higher-capacity techniques could well emerge in future," he said, adding that O2 could also augment its LTE network with seamless WiFi offload.
Even so, it still doesn't beat some big old chunks of high-capacity spectrum, which is exactly what Vodafone paid a handsome fee for, securing 2x10 MHz in the