O2 joins criticism of Ofcom's 4G plans

Carrier claims plans to allow Everything Everywhere a 4G head start could actually cause delays

Stewart Mitchell
23 Mar 2012

O2 has joined Vodafone in attacking Ofcom's plans to allow mobile provider Everything Everywhere to launch a 4G data service ahead of its rivals.

The company lambasted the regulator, claiming plans to allow EE to “re-farm” existing spectrum - announced last week - would corrupt competition and could lead to further delays to a wider 4G rollout as it could spark legal appeals

"From the very start of this process, Ofcom has said that the UK must retain a competitive market environment and that it will remove the ability for operators to behave strategically over spectrum allocation,” O2 said in a statement, adding that it had agreed with Ofcom over plans to try and attract a fourth carrier to the market, but could not swallow the latest plans.

“However, we are concerned that Ofcom's other proposal to allow one operator to launch 4G early on its existing spectrum is contradictory to its objective of delivering a competitive market environment with four competing players. This could expose the process to further risk of delay.”

The consultation on whether Everything Everywhere should be allowed to reuse its old spectrum in the 1,800MHz range to launch a Long Term Evolution service ends in mid April.

EE has said it hopes to launch a service later this year if permission is granted.

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