The Government is gradually revealing more and more about how it wants to distribute third-generation (3G) mobile phone licences. So far its proposals have shown that it is aware of the concerns of both telecom companies and consumers. The 3G phones will use technology to bring the Internet to mobile phones and allow users to send large amounts of information, including video, through their mobiles. The Government confirmed earlier this week that whoever wins a licence - there will be four of them - will have to make at least 30 per cent of their networks available to their rivals. That is good news for smaller companies because it should mean they get access even if they cannot afford the money to buy a licence themselves. That in turn should benefit consumers because it will mean more competition in the market, and therefore hopefully, lower prices. The larger companies, however, are unhappy with this rule, because having paid for their licence they would be unwilling to hand over some of their expensive spectrum to rivals. Recent auctions in the United Kingdom and Germany have demonstrated the heavy up-front costs bidders sometimes have to pay to secure victory. However, the SAR Government has tried to go some of the way to meeting these concerns. Under the licensing rules, 3G operators will have to make guaranteed minimum payments to the Government - and after five years they will also have to make royalty payments based on their revenues. The Government thinks the plan will avoid phone companies having to pay heavy up-front costs and so ease the financial burden on the winners. There are still many grey areas to be resolved, and it is unclear whether the new proposals will in fact do much to change how much the companies will be forced to pay. And the major telecom operators are already claiming the open network requirement is still too high. Nevertheless, the Government is showing it is trying to take the interests of all parties into account as it formulates its plans. And it is showing that it is willing to learn the lessons of the past when it comes to future policy decisions.