Vodafone, O2, EE and Three will meet with the government and Ofcom later today to try and broker an accord over the sale of 4G spectrum holdings, in attempt to head off further delays around the auctions.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) confirmed to V3 the meeting would be taking place today, with newly installed culture secretary Marie Miller set to meet with the head of the firms, along with Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards.
If the firms can agree on a way forward, the meeting could also explore the possibility of bringing forward the auctions for 4G spectrum in the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands. Both O2 and Vodafone are desperate to find ways they can start offering 4G services as soon as possible.
The firms were angered that Ofcom gave rival EE a head start in the market by approving the use of it existing 2G spectrum on the 1800MHz band for 4G services earlier this year.
EE moved rapidly to boast that these services would be available before the end of the year, and it was given another boon when the iPhone 5 was launched with 4G capabilities that can work on its 1800MHz spectrum, but not the future 800MHz or 2.6GHz networks.
V3 contacted Vodafone, O2, EE and Three for comment ahead of the meeting but had received no reply at time of publication.
The meeting comes after Vodafone and O2 were given regulatory approval to share network infrastructure for both existing 2G and 3G services and forthcoming 4G networks, in a move instigated as a result of the merger of Orange and T-Mobile in EE.
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