9/24/2009 10:39:00 AM
Orange/T-Mobile deal slows spectrum plans
The Orange and T-Mobile merger has delayed Government plans to reallocate mobile spectrum as part of its Digital Britain programme.
News of the merger has forced Government officials to make last minute adjustments to proposals, delaying a consultation document due to be published this month.
Kip Meek, the independent spectrum broker tasked with putting together the proposed spectrum reallocation, confirmed this week that the consultation paper will not be published for ‘a few weeks’.
Meek told Mobile that adjustments to the proposals are being made in light of the merger. He said: ‘We are just finalising the report, which takes on board the issue of the T-Mobile and Orange merger.’
Meek published a report outlining spectrum allocation proposals in May, which stated that in the event of a merger: ‘The two most significant areas to be revisited would be the total spectrum cap, which may need to be increased, as well as the packaging arrangements for 800MHz, as two blocks of 2 x 15MHz may be better suited to a world of fewer MNOs.
‘Other aspects of the proposals, such as the sub 1GHz restrictions, are
likely to remain relevant in their current form as 900MHz holdings are concentrated in the hands of only two entities [Vodafone and O2].’
Meek declined to detail changes to the proposals, but said: ‘Most things in my earlier report still stand, but there are overall spectrum cap changes and sub 1GHz cap changes that need to be made.’
Meek also said the spectrum reallocation proposals will ‘hold no surprises for operators and non-operators in this area’. He added: ‘Everyone gains something and everyone loses something.’
Investec analyst Jonathan Groocock warned of further delays. ‘These new proposals will need to be batted around before any final decision is made, further complicating the procedure.’