Three CEO Dyson urges Ofcom to limit BT in next spectrum auction

Three announces h1 2019 results

He claims BT is in a position that could “make life difficult” for other operators.

Three has urged Ofcom to limit BT’s purchasing power in the upcoming auction to prevent spectrum ownership within the UK from becoming more unbalanced.

Following on from Brussel’s decision to block Hutch’s £10.25 billion takeover of O2, Three CEO Dave Dyson told the Financial Times that BT could outbid operators and restrict them. He claimed that BT’s £12.5 billion EE buyout has giving it a commanding position.

He said: “The combination of BT and EE is incredibly strong financially. It has got the financial ability to outcompete everyone in the market in how much they are willing to pay.

“Potentially, given how much spectrum they are already sitting on, BT is incentivised to strategically bid in the next auction to restrict the other operators in the market from increasing their spectrum portfolio . . . That could make life difficult.”

The auction is expected by the end of this year, with Dyson calling on Ofcom to impose restrictions on BT and Vodafone. This could potentially see BT giving up some of its spectrum before purchasing more.

“Hopefully Ofcom will make some pro-competition choices in the design of the auction and ideally starts to rebalance the distortion.

“The UK has the most unbalanced spectrum ownership of all the countries in Europe. We need competitive restraints to stop the imbalance getting worse.”