Ofcom frees up 2G and 3G spectrum for 4G services


The decision means Vodafone and O2 can use their 900MHz and 1800MHz spectrum  to provide superfast 4G services

UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has said mobile operators can use their 2G and 3G spectrum to provide superfast 4G services.

The decision, announced today (July 9) means the likes of Vodafone, O2 and EE will not have to go through a formal application process to use their existing resources for 4G.

It comes after EE was in August last year given permission by Ofcom to use its 2G and 3G spectrum for 4G services, after requesting to do so earlier in 2012. The move angered its rivals, who claimed the decision gave EE an unfair head start in launching 4G, and called for Ofcom to ‘liberalise’ the 2G and 3G bands so they could do the same.

The spectrum freed up for 4G today lies in the 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2100MHz bands.

Ofcom’s decision benefits Vodafone and O2, who hold 900MHz and 1800MHz spectrum.

Ofcom said: “The benefits to consumers of permitting 4G deployment were likely to outweigh any potential detriment that might, in principle, arise from distortions to competition.”