3 Mobile issues warning on 4G auction legal challenge

Tuesday, March 27th 2012
Network operator 3 Mobile has enough capacity to risk delaying the spectrum auction, chief executive David Dyson will explain today.
3 Mobile issues warning on 4G auction legal challenge
Mobile broadband network operator 3 Mobile is set to warn Ofcom that it has sufficient capacity to launch a legal challenge against the forthcoming 4G spectrum auction.

David Dyson, UK chief executive of the service provider, will warn at a conference in London today (March 27th 2012) that the terms of the much-delayed sell-off should be rewritten to ensure the survival of 3 Mobile, the smallest player in the market.

Previously, it had been thought that 3 Mobile would be unlikely to risk further delays to the auction after the company warned last year that it would run out of capacity in some urban areas by the end of 2012.

However, according to the Guardian, Mr Dyson will explain that the carrier has brought itself enough time to launch legal action by undertaking a major upgrade to its infrastructure.

Its network is set to move to High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) 42.2 technology, which is capable of carrying twice the traffic of its existing HSPA 21.1 network.

The auction, which is currently scheduled to take place early next year, is required to give network operators sufficient additional spectrum to support the rollout of 4G mobile broadband technology.

As things stand, 3 Mobile believes it will be outbid for spectrum in the lower frequency 800MHz band and wants Ofcom to reserve some of these airwaves.

Commenting on Mr Dyson's speech, a 3 Mobile spokesman explained: "You can expect it to address competition and the principles set out by Ofcom in a four-player market for the benefit of consumers."

This is the latest potential setback to hit the spectrum auction, coming shortly after O2 and Vodafone hit out at Ofcom's proposals to allow Everything Everywhere to re-use some of its existing spectrum to begin rolling out 4G this year.

O2 argued that the regulator's plan "is contradictory to its objective of delivering a competitive market environment with four competing players".

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