Ofcom: Everything Everywhere 4G decision delayed

Ofcom: Everything Everywhere 4G decision delayedAt the tail end of February, Everything Everywhere announced that it hoped to use its existing spectrum to provide 4G to UK consumers by the end of 2012, and the move was semi-approved by Ofcom – with a deadline for rival networks to voice their objections.

O2 and Vodafone were predictably outspoken about the potential move, claiming it’d give Everything Everywhere an unfair advantage, and – in the latest installment of the saga – Ofcom has now delayed its ruling. Phew.

An official Ofcom statement reads: “Ofcom today extended the period for responding to Ofcom’s ‘Notice of proposed variation of Everything Everywhere’s 1800MHz spectrum licences to allow use of LTE and WiMAX technologies’ from 17 April 2012 until 8 May 2012. We have decided to extend this period following requests from stakeholders for more time to respond.”

In related news, Three has warned that it’s considering legal action to ensure it gets a fair share of the 4G spectrum when the auction finally – finally – takes place.

A Three spokesperson tells the Guardian: “You can expect us to address competition and the principles set out by Ofcom in a four-player market for the benefit of consumers.”

The Everything Everywhere 4G story has really split opinion with our regulars. Dare I ask again what you think? Everything Everywhere would undoubtedly make a huge song and dance about exclusive 4G, but would Joe Average care?

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12 comments

blizzard7  Mar. 28, 2012 at 12:11

I don't think anyone's particularly surprised. The other networks aren't just going to sit back and watch this happen.

killieguy  Mar. 28, 2012 at 13:41

is it just me that doesnt understand this process? the other networks are saying, "you are further ahead than us with that technology so you can't supply it" - i dont get it, i dont see the bbc stopping sky providing services because they dont have as many channels, or alcatel stopping htc from selling phones because they are better than theirs :-s

Pondlife  Mar. 28, 2012 at 14:12

Totally expected from other companies.
Surely won't make that much difference though tbh as only those whose contract is up during that time will face the decision, most will be locked on their 3g contracts even those on EE I would think.
With no idea of the premium they'll want for 4g I can't really judge if I'd be interested anyway, assume they will charge more.

CTPAHHIK  Mar. 28, 2012 at 15:01

It is very unlikely that EE will charge more. This is similar to charging more, if you happen to have 42Mbps (latest HSDPA+) capable phone vs. someone with only 7.2Mbps. 4G plans are likely to have bigger data allowance included as you are likely to use more data when higher bandwidth available. Ultimately, you will be paying for more data and not faster speed.

Pondlife  Mar. 28, 2012 at 15:22

I'm struggling to remember but thought that other than 3 all the prices went up for 3g when it first came in, 3g handsets all dearer too.

Can see this ending up back in the european courts before it's resolved, doesn't look like they dealt with all the issues well enough when the commission approved the merger

jmarcelino  Mar. 28, 2012 at 15:27

is it just me that doesnt understand this process? the other networks are saying, "you are further ahead than us with that technology so you can't supply it" - i dont get it, i dont see the bbc stopping sky providing services because they dont have as many channels, or alcatel stopping htc from selling phones because they are better than theirs :-s

It's not that EE are farther ahead with the technology, it's just that due to the Orange/T-Mobile marriage they got a nice block of airwaves that don't conflict much with other stuff.

Other networks - purely for historical reasons and not by any fault of their own - didn't get that luxury, their frequencies are being tied up with other purposes and can't be reused for LTE.

Pondlife  Mar. 28, 2012 at 15:43

If the 4G was done and dusted it wouldn't be as big an issue as there wouldn't be as big a head start, but the EE merger complicated that with some of their existing spectrum needing to be resold.

Pondlife  Mar. 28, 2012 at 15:49

is it just me that doesnt understand this process? the other networks are saying, "you are further ahead than us with that technology so you can't supply it" - i dont get it, i dont see the bbc stopping sky providing services because they dont have as many channels

Well sky were stopped from having all the Premier League and made to let other providers show their Sports channels under similar competition rules. Also the rules that stop them buying exclusive rights to other sporting competitions, eg World Cup, FA cup, Wimbledon.

CTPAHHIK  Mar. 30, 2012 at 08:31

This is very lame. Not experienced with competition law in UK, but to me the it is end user who is missing out. Does not matter how I look at in the end it is me who will not be getting 4G service. I can be careless about provider squabbles. Shouldn't consumer be placed first?

On the other hand, networks that are currently at their capacity (pretty much everyone in big cities) are unable to upgrade to provide better service.

Pondlife  Mar. 30, 2012 at 11:59

Although it doesn't seem in the consumer is in theory paced first.
The consumer misses out more in the long run if there's a monopoly.

OFCOM should hurry up the 4g auction really.

CTPAHHIK  Mar. 30, 2012 at 12:37

Pondlife,
please clarify what do you mean by monopoly? To me it seems that you are saying that EE will have a monopoly on 4G. In that case Apple has monopoly on iOS. Should not that be regulated also?
Reading your previous comments it seems I'm not understanding you correctly.

Pondlife  Mar. 30, 2012 at 12:53

If IOS was the only phone os then they would.
The App store is closer to monopoly territory really.

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