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EE adds to Ofcom woes with another spectrum challenge

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EE is set to pile the misery onto Ofcom, as it joins Three in challenging the watchdog’s new mobile spectrum cap.

Taking a page out of Three’s book, EE has stated it believes there will be no further delay to the auction with this challenge, as Three is already holding up proceedings. Dealing with another legal challenge shouldn’t be an issue for Ofcom, they’ll be doing something similar as it stands, so why not add an extra couple of hours on top.

“We’re supportive of Ofcom’s goal to release airwaves quickly, and we don’t want to stand in the way of that,” said an EE spokesperson. “We pragmatically accept that we are excluded from the 2.3GHz auction for 4G, and encourage Ofcom to continue without our participation. The UK needs a clear path to the introduction of 5G, so we are suggesting restructuring the 5G auction to introduce more 5G spectrum in one go – we want this to happen as soon as possible.

“Three has already begun the legal process and our challenge doesn’t mean further delay. Tomorrow we will send a Letter Before Action to Ofcom, challenging their decision on the upcoming auction.”

Of course, as Three has already caused an issue, it’s not going to cause any further delays. Ofcom lawyers can just deal with both the challenges at the same time, I mean, they have two hands don’t they. And who needs sleep. Ofcom could invest in a couple of sleeping bags, write a power nap schedule, then the lawyers don’t have to go home at all.

The auction, which is currently scheduled to take place later in the year, will put a cap on the amount of spectrum which can be bought by the larger players in the UK. EE falls into this category, and could win up to 85 MHz in the 3.4 GHz band, which will still put it at the top of the pile, but dilute the dominance a little bit. It’s also been completely barred from bidding in the 2.3 GHz auction.

Being barred from the 2.3 GHz auction doesn’t seem to be an issue for EE, the comment demonstrates the team accept the decision from Ofcom; the focus is more on the 5G world of tomorrow. From EE’s perspective, there is an opportunity for Ofcom to restructure the auction of spectrum for 5G, bringing together 3.4-3.6GHz, 3.6-3.8GHz and 700MHz into one, single auction that will allow far more effective planning for all operators.

EE and Three has the right to challenge the spectrum changes, this is quite rightly a pillar of our society. But at least be honest and take the criticism on the chin. Anyone who thinks this will only cause a three month delay is either a liar or delusional; at least EE are not being as deranged as serial-victim Three.

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