4/29/2008 4:35:00 PM
Operators threaten to sue Ofcom over spectrum
Mobile operators have threatened to sue Ofcom over the regulator’s spectrum plans. Networks said they were going to sue the regulator to stop September’s auction of the so called 3G expansion band.
Last year Ofcom said it was considering taking back roughly a third of the frequency Vodafone and O2 bought in the first 3G spectrum auction eight years ago, and giving it to rival operators to increase national 3G coverage.
A decision on this ‘re-farming’ issue was due in the summer, before the auction of the 3G expansion band. But the strong reaction from O2 and Vodafone to these plans has forced the regulator to further consultations over the summer. The operators said this delay wouldn’t give them enough time to decide how much spectrum they would want to bid for in the 3G expansion auction.
Mobile operators want to use the 3G expansion band for Long Term Evolution – next generation super fast wireless broadband. However, other sectors also have their eye on the frequency. BT, for example, is pushing for the sale of the 3G expansion band to go ahead, because it wants to bid for the spectrum to use it for WiMax. Ofcom also argues that the auction should go ahead to ensure the effective use of the spectrum, because businesses are ready to run service on it.