Everything Everywhere granted permission to re-use spectrum for 4G

Outrage expressed by Vodafone, who has accused Ofcom of distorting competition.

Everything Everywhere

Ofcom has given Everything Everywhere the green light to re-use its 1800 MHz spectrum to provide 4G services in the UK.

The decision means Orange and T-Mobile, which operate under the banner of Everything Everywhere, will be able to provide 4G services before rival operators such as O2, Three and Vodafone. Rival operators will need to purchase spectrum in an auction, which has been beset by numerous delays and is scheduled to take place at the end of 2012.

Unsurprisingly Everything Everywhere has welcomed the decision from Ofcom, noting that it will "drive investment, employment and innovation" in the UK.

Rival operator Vodafone has reacted angrily at the decision, claiming that Ofcom has acted in an inappropriate manner.

"The regulator has shown a careless disregard for the best interests of consumers, businesses and the wider economy through its refusal to properly regard the competitive distortion created by allowing one operator to run services before the ground has been laid for a fully competitive 4G market."

"Ofcom's timing is particularly bizarre given the reports that Everything Everywhere is currently in discussions to sell some of its spectrum to Three, which Ofcom has previously been at such pains to protect with its over-engineering of the 4G auction. This means the balance in the auction will fundamentally change."

Back in March a mobile industry insider told IT Pro that Ofcom would almost certainly allow Everything Everywhere to re-use parts of its 1800MHz spectrum for a high-speed 4G network, due to pressure from Whitehall.

The insider claimed that politicians wanted to act quickly to put infrastructure in place to prevent the UK from falling further behind countries such as the US, which has the technology in place. Ofcom would have no choice but to green light the proposal from Everything Everywhere, and this has proved to be the case.

It remains to be seen whether the 4G auction will take place in December as planned, as Vodafone previously expressed concerns that Everything Everywhere would try and delay the auction by using a legal technicality.

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