Ofcom proposals to increase 4G license fees could hamper mobile operators plans to upgrade their networks, it has been warned.
In a toughly worded statement, the GSMA, said it was concerned over Ofcom plans to hike annual license fees for the 900MHz and 1800MHz spectrum bands in the UK.
Tom Phillips, GSMA Chief Regulatory Officer, (pictured) said:“The GSMA is concerned that Ofcom’s proposal …will jeopardise mobile operators’ ability to upgrade their networks for 4G services in the UK.”
Ofcom plans to raise charges for the 900MHz band to £138.5 million from £24.8 million , and to £170.4 million from £39.7 million for 1800MHz.
In October last year Ofcom outlined the plan for the license fee increases after the UK government said the fees should reflect "full market value". The proposal came after Britain raised a less-than-expected £2.34 billion in a 4G spectrum auction for airwaves to carry high-speed mobile Internet traffic earlier last year.
According to a recent report by the GSMA, Europe is lagging significantly behind the U.S. in terms of deployment of next-generation wireless infrastructure. The GSMA said 4G represented 19 per cent of U.S. connections compared to less than two per cent in the EU at the end of 2013. However, it warned that improvement in 4G deployment can only be realised with long-term investment from the industry.
Phillips said: “Any lag in 4G roll-out could potentially put UK businesses at an international disadvantage and deny consumers access to the latest mobile services.”