updated 08:04 am EDT, Tue August 21, 2012
Competitor claims foul on regulator decisions
Ofcom is allowing Everything Everywhere to use its existing spectrum for 4G services in the UK, despite carrier resentment. The statement on the regulator's website approves Everything Everywhere's rebranding request, which would see the 1,800MHz spectrum used for the 4G rollout from September 11 this year, well before the expected start of 4G services next year by other carriers.
As the full auction of the 2.6GHz and 800MHz bands is still scheduled for the start of 2013, it would be a "to the detriment of consumers" if Everything Everywhere, the parent company of Orange and T-Mobile, was delayed in rolling out its service. It also believed there “is no material risk that those benefits will be outweighed by a distortion of the competition,” despite opposition from competitors such as Vodafone.
On hearing the news, a statement from Vodafone claimed the company was "shocked that Ofcom has reached this decision," suggesting it of showing a "careless disregard for the best interests of consumers, businesses, and the wider economy." Vodafone also called out Ofcom's timing, pointing out the reports of Everything Everywhere being in discussions with 3 over spectrum sales, after Ofcom had spent a considerable amount of effort "over-engineering" the 4G auction in order to protect the competition between carriers.
Vodafone claims to have commited themselves to covering 98 percent of the UK population with indoor 4G services by 2015, two years before Ofcom's own target, but suggests that the regulator's decisions are making this extremely difficult to perform. "We need to acquire spectrum in the auction to achieve this. Ironically, all that stands in our way right now is the regulator." [via T3]