Everything Everywhere has sold a segment of its 1800MHz spectrum holdings to Three in a move that will allow the operator to also offer 4G services, after Ofcom approved the use of the spectrum frequency for 4G networks.
Everything Everywhere confirmed that two 15MHz portions of its 1800MHz holdings have been passed to its rival, for an undisclosed sum, as part of requirements issued by regulators approving the merger of Orange and T-Mobile.
"In accordance with these commitments, Everything Everywhere has today announced an agreement with Three to transfer this 2x15MHz of its 1800MHz spectrum to Three," it said.
"Ofcom and the European Commission will review whether the divestment satisfies the merger commitments, and a response is expected within the next three months."
Once approved, Three can begin offering 4G services. The firm's chief executive, Dave Dyson, said the move would bring numerous benefits to customers as the demand for mobile data continues to rocket.
"Acquiring this spectrum will more than double the capacity available to customers on our network," he said.
"We have seen a huge growth in data consumption with average mobile handset customer usage now more than 1.1GB per month. Three has led the market in the significant growth of mobile data consumption and the shift to consumer use of smartphones to access the internet."
The move is likely to cause yet more consternation among rival operators O2 and Vodafone, both of which have already voiced their anger at Ofcom's approval for Everything Everywhere to offer 4G services, claiming it will distort the market ahead of the auctions set to take place in 2013.
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