EE warns licence fee hike could harm infrastructure spend

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EE warns licence fee hike could harm infrastructure spend

EE has warned that plans to increase licence fees for spectrum use could affect its investment in infrastructure and roll out of 4G networks.

EE and its three network rivals face an increase in the annual licence fee, under new proposals from Ofcom. The UK's largest operator would see its fees leap by 328% to £107m per year. All four operators were initially critical of the proposed hike, dubbing them 'excessive' but there is increasing concern as the implications of the plans become realised.

According to The Financial Times, EE CEO Olaf Swantee said an increase in licence fees would be paid for by reducing spending on its network, a move that could impact plans to introduce 4G coverage to rural areas. Ofcom is holding the consultation until December, with the planned increases set to be introduced next year.

A spokesperson for Ofcom told the FT: 'The proposed fees are in line with analysts’ expectations and with the amounts that operators pay for accessing spectrum in other countries. The operators were therefore given significant notice and the proposals should come as no surprise.

'However, if they have arguments for why the fees should be less than proposed they can put them to us as part of our consultation process and we will take them into account in making a final decision.'

Author: Graeme Neill

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