Vodafone slams Ofcom spectrum price hike proposal

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Operator says it is “disappointed” by Ofcom proposals which may increase the fee it pays for certain spectrum bands by 430 per cent

Vodafone has criticised proposals released today by Ofcom to drastically increase the annual licence fees for the 900MHz and 1800MHz spectrum bands.

Vodafone, like fellow operator O2, currently pays £15.6 million for the annual licence, but may have to pay £83.1m under the proposals.

A Vodafone UK spokesperson said: “We have received Ofcom’s proposals and will review the detail within the 370 pages of documentation before responding fully to the regulator as part of its consultation process.

“We are, however, disappointed that Ofcom is proposing a 430 per cent increase in the fees we pay for our existing spectrum at a time when we are investing more than ever in vital national digital infrastructure.

“Vodafone UK is spending more than £900m this year alone on its network and has pledged to bring indoor 4G coverage to 98 per cent of the UK population by 2015. The regulator should be encouraging such private sector investment in infrastructure and new services like 4G, which will benefit consumers, businesses and the wider British economy for many years to come.”

Vodafone added that it will be putting a full response to Ofcom as part of the consultation process, which ends on December 19.

The proposals follow a December 2010 government directive which told Ofcom to ensure fees reflected market value, bearing in mind the sums bid for licences in the 4G auction for 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz spectrum in February, which raised a combined £2.4 billion.

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