This saga began when Ofcom said it was fine, in principle, for Everything Everywhere to start its 4G LTE roll-out (using 1800MHz spectrum) later this year, giving it a head-start on rival networks.
Ofcom did say, however, that the decision was subject to feedback from those other networks, and chime in they have.
Despite the 4G roll-out only likely to be small-scale at this stage, Vodafone was the first to fire shots at Ofcom for giving Everything Everywhere the thumbs up. In a Sunday Times report, the operator accused Ofcom of taking leave of its senses with the approval.
And now O2 has joined in with criticism of the move. The network’s official response read: “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.”
“To this end, Ofcom’s auction proposals had much to commend them, and we were minded to support a small spectrum reservation for Hutchison or a new entrant, if Ofcom could make a stronger case for four players.”
“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.”
More bickering and delay is definitely not what the UK’s 4G roll-out process needs, as we’re already lagging well behind the US and other nations in Europe when it comes to super-fast mobile broadband.