Opposition is mounting to Ofcom's proposals to allow mobile firm Everything Everywhere to use parts of its spectrum for 4G services later this year, with rival operator O2 adding to Vodafone's call for a rethink.
O2 said the plans could further delay the long-awaited 4G auctions and distort competition in the market.
“We are concerned that Ofcom’s proposal to allow one operator to launch 4G early on its existing spectrum is contradictory to its objective of delivering a competitive market environment with four competing players,” it said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Vodafone argued that consumers would lose out if Ofcom pressed ahead with its plans.
"We seriously doubt that consumers’ best interests will be served by giving one company a significant head start before any of its competitors have a clear path to 4G," Vodafone said in a statement.
Ofcom unveiled its proposals to allow Everything Everywhere to use its 1800MHz spectrum for 4G services earlier this month. At that time, Ofcom said in its view, the decision would not create market distortions.
Ofcom's assertion has been backed by analysts, who argue that the 1800MHz spectrum is ill-suited to delivering wide-area, ubiquitous 4G services.
One of the problems for higher frequency spectrums is that it is slightly harder for signals to penetrate buildings than lower frequency ones, and the range is also shorter, Rob Bamforth, an analyst with Quocirca told V3.
“Early 4G is likely to be more oriented to ‘hot spots’ rather than ubiquitous coverage,” he said.
“Also it’s not always easy being first to any market, much better to be first to volume – and that’s probably still wide open.”
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