Three CEO urges Ofcom to resurrect sub-1GHz guarantee


David Dyson describes regulator’s removal of guarantee on access to sub-1GHz spectrum in forthcoming 4G auction as “irrational” and “questionable”

Three CEO David Dyson (pictured) has called on Ofcom to resurrect proposals to guarantee that Three will be able to secure sub-1GHz spectrum in the 4G auction scheduled for the end of this year.

In its most recent consultation document on the 4G auction, Ofcom dropped the guarantee, which featured in a first consultation document published in March 2011.

The regulator said it no longer felt that sub-1GHz spectrum was necessary for a mobile operator to remain viable.

Speaking at the Future of Mobile 2012 Westminster eForum in London today (March 27), Dyson said that Ofcom’s original assessment remained true, and that scrapping the proposals designed to ensure that all operators were able to gain a slice of sub-1GHz spectrum would be “irrational” and hinder competition in the UK mobile market.

Dyson said: “As a consumer, and not the CEO of a mobile operator, my clear request to Ofcom is to reconsider their technical analysis and position on low frequency spectrum, and reconclude on a solution that more closely follows every other regulators in Europe.”

“As a CEO of a mobile operator, the conclusion to the contrary would be irrational, questionable and unnecessarily risks future competition in the UK mobile market.”

Three would be able to bid for sub-1GHz spectrum in the auction. However, the firm’s comparatively smaller spectrum holdings compared to the other three operators, and the lack of the sub-1GHz spectrum held by O2 and Vodafone, mean it is likely to be at a significant disadvantage.

Dyson said he also disagreed with giving Everything Everywhere (EE) the chance to launch a 4G service ahead of its rivals. Ofcom today extended the consultation period on the decision to give EE the go-ahead from April 17 to May 8 following pressure from EE’s rival operators.