Everything Everywhere is trying to avoid selling off some of its spectrum as required under the conditions of the T-Mobile and Orange merger.
Mobile understands the operator has held informal talks with the European Commission over its obligation to sell 2 x 15MHz of its spectrum. The Commission imposed the condition on the company in return for approving the merger. Everything Everywhere declined to comment.
A clause in the Commission’s approval specifies that the spectrum sell off can be reviewed if market conditions change.
The operator is understood to believe that Ofcom’s decision to delay the 4G auction of 800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum does constitute a significant change in the market.
Sources say the operator wants clarification on when it has to sell the spectrum and on whether the amount it has to sell remains the same given the changes in the market. Mobile understands that one suggestion is that the amount should be cut to 10MHz.
Commentators have noted that the operator is unwilling to sell the spectrum ahead of the 4G auction, as that will reveal the going market price.
The merger gave Everything Everywhere by far the largest spectrum holding among the UK mobile networks. Any future decision in Everything Everywhere’s favour will be sure to antagonise the other networks, which are already unhappy at the amount of spectrum it holds.