EE announces legal action against Ofcom over spectrum auction

EE joins Three in opposition of Ofcom's 5G spectrum limits - Office Phone Shop

Further delay to 5G spectrum auction

Ofcom’s decision to stop mobile phone companies owning more than 37 per cent of usable spectrum by 2020 has met with opposition from both Three and EE.

Three’s proposed action against Ofcom will likely cause a delay to the auction of mobile spectrum due to take place in September and October.

Three, which currently owns 15 per cent of available spectrum, argues for a 30 per cent cap on spectrum ownership to limit BT’s and Vodafone’s participation in the auction.

With EE owning 43 per cent of available spectrum and Vodafone owns 30 per cent, Three believes UK airwave ownership is anti-competitive and that small operators struggle with overloaded networks.

EE, on the other hand, believes it should be allowed to participate freely in the auction for the most up-to-date 5G spectrum.

“In response to Three’s action, we have made the difficult decision to challenge the proposed structure of the next auction of mobile spectrum,” the company said. “We need to protect our customers’ mobile experience, and help build the platform for the UK to have the highest-quality 5G networks.”

This challenge by EE means a likely further delay to the rollout of faster 5G services.

In response, Ofcom, said the 37 per cent limit was appropriate given Three’s recent acquisition of Relish that has given the company a boost to its own spectrum holdings.

Ofcom said: “Consumers are using more mobile data every year. Any delays in releasing new airwaves risk harming people and businesses.”

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