back to article Ofcom pops 37% spectrum cap on mobile providers' domes

Telecoms regulator Ofcom has capped the maximum amount of mobile spectrum a company can own at 37 per cent, ahead of its auction of mobile spectrum later this year. Later this year the regulator will flog licences to use 190 MHz of spectrum in two frequency bands, increasing the airwaves available for mobile devices by almost …

  1. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Kick in the teeth for consumers? What about a kick in the nuts for Three who probably wanted more of the spectrum for themselves?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They should have bought more last time around when spectrum went begging at well below expected price.

      Don't start whinging now because you didn't plan well enough ahead.

      1. ARGO

        BT didn't buy much then either, but made up for that by buying a rival network later. 3 were blocked from doing the same. I can see how they might be a little peeved at the regulator.

  2. Jess--

    Three want some more of the lower frequency spectrum as that has better building penetration. (900-950mhz from memory)

    originally only Cellnet and Vodafone had these frequencies, T-Mobile and Orange had higher frequencies (1800 mhz from memory)

    Three originally only had 2100mhz available.

    I see that Three now have some spectrum at 1800 mhz (presumably freed up by the combining of Orange and T-mobile into EE) and some at 800mhz

  3. Trigonoceps occipitalis

    To Misquote Mark Twain

    Buy spectrum, they're not making it any more.

  4. Richtea

    42% v 15% - hardly a level playing field

    If you have 4 operators, isn't it fair to offer them all ~25% each? They should pay of course, but the chance for the smaller operators to buy and re-balance the share of spectrum should be available.

    Or drop to three operators and then 14%+15% becomes a sustainable competitor. Oh - rejected.

    Otherwise, I can see operator failure 5 years down the road.

    BTW - does the 37% limit mean BEET needs to give back their extra 5% longer term?

  5. ChrisPateman

    Sticking plaster on the Titanic

    Once again, Ofcom has started from the self-fulfilling ‘four legs good, three legs bad’ position which has characterized the UK mobile market for the last 20 years.

    Four mobile network operators control 100% of the market. Either directly or through emasculating MVNO agreements or dealer ‘partnerships’ which create the illusion of wholesale competition, but with none of the protections enjoyed by resellers in the fixed telephony space.

    The effect is to stifle consumer and business choice with what amounts to a complex monopoly. Meanwhile, both government and the regulator colludes in claiming the market is ‘working well for consumers’.

    The reseller community can take a little comfort from yesterday’s announcement. We are pleased to see Ofcom listened to the industry’s concerns about the risk of too much spectrum being owned by EE/BT. The decision to impose a spectrum cap on the 3.4GHz band as well as the more immediately usable 2.3GHz is especially welcome: it will help reduce the risk of sequestration and monopoly approaches as new equipment becomes available.

    But the mobile market is fundamentally broken. The way to fix it is by encouraging real wholesale competition, not by applying spectrum caps.

  6. Chris Evans

    Mmmm I'm torn.

    The 3G auction raised £22.5 bn. As someone who doesn't use a mobile much and so don't pay a lot. It would nice if they raised a lot more than the £2.3 bn of 4G. Now if only we knew the government would spend it on the NHS or Education....

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