3UK could hitch ride on EE’s proposed LTE1800 network

3UK’s CEO David Dyson has suggested that the operator could strike an agreement with Everything Everywhere to launch LTE using the T-Mobile/Orange JV’s spectrum in advance of the UK’s 4G auction.

Everything Everywhere has appealed to Ofcom for permission to re-farm its existing 1800MHz spectrum in order launch LTE services by the end of the year. If successful it could establish a significant lead over its competitors.

However, the MBNL 3G network that it uses is co-owned by 3UK, and Dyson suggested that the nature of the two firms’ relationship might be extendable to include LTE.

“We’ve got an opportunity to potentially wholesale capacity from that LTE network, but we haven’t come to any definitive financial terms,” said Dyson. “There could be a way of getting access to [Everything Everywhere’s LTE] network, which the other networks – O2 and Vodafone – don’t have.”

Dyson added that if Everything Everywhere were the only player to be offering LTE before dedicated spectrum is allocated, the market would become uncompetitive. “The sooner this country gets into the next level of technology, the better it will be for consumers, provided there is competition. I think that’s the bit that is missing from Everything Everywhere’s campaign. Given that it’s the biggest player in the market, with that proposition, I’m not sure it’s in the best interest of consumers – it gives them a head start.”

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