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Three UK CEO throws temper tamtrum over spectrum auction

Child trying to break pencil

Seemingly not happy with his company’s current level of moaning, Three UK CEO Dave Dyson threw his toys out of the pram during the company’s earnings call.

Dyson has threatened legal action against Ofcom unless the regulator pledges to help smaller operators out during an upcoming 5G spectrum auction, according to the FT. If the UK wasn’t already playing catch-up in the digital economy, Dyson’s wobbly to block the sale of airwaves needed for 5G and improved 4G services could see the nation fall further behind again.

“It would be painful if the auction was delayed, but it is more important to get the market structure right,” Dyson huffed.

The fear here is that the current set up would only compound the dominance which is already felt in the industry by BT and Vodafone. Any legal moves would leave the UK in a precarious situation as the auction has already been delayed as a result of the aborted takeover of O2 by Three.

The move was reminiscent of an eight year-old on a school playground who storms off with a football, only because the more experienced players are better. Dyson is wasting playtime for everyone else and soon enough, when the real game starts, team UK may be woefully behind the rest of the class.

Ofcom has already suggested BT, owner of EE, could be banned from bidding for some of the spectrum, as a way to address any imbalance, but this isn’t good enough apparently. Dyson is upset that that BT and Vodafone could still bid strategically to hurt Three’s ambitions. Maybe Three should be the only ones allowed to bid during the auction, would that make you feel better Dave?

What was left out of Dyson’s argument is that Three UK is owned by the CK Hutchison Group, a multinational Asian giant, with net profits of $4.25 billion over the course of 2016. The group had enough cash to buy UK Broadband for £300 million, but apparently not the conviction or desire to pump cash into Three UK to compete toe-to-toe in the spectrum auction.


One comment

  1. Keith Gould 24/03/2017 @ 3:24 pm

    Dyson’s reaction clarifies my feeling over three’s crass eMail to customers asking them to put pressure on OffCom.

    Personally find Three’s product poor, but because of my rural location I’m forced to use it as backup when my main provider isn’t accessible.

    Government should knock heads together and bring about infrastructure sharing.

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