Is Three next for UK 4G?

Is Three next for UK 4G?Well, we finally have 4G in the UK, thanks to Orange and T-Mobile’s tag team Everything Everywhere – or “EE” for short. They’ve got a cheeky head start pending next year’s auction thingy.

Now we’re hearing that Three Mobile could be next to offer UK 4G, potentially before the moany old team of Vodafone and O2. Uh oh.

Cast your crazy minds back to August, and you might recall EE sold some delicious 1,800MHz spectrum to little old Three – a move necessitated by the union of Orange and T-Mobile.

Well, as speculated at the time, Three could use the spectrum to roll out its own UK 4G service, and the network tells CNET it hopes to do so soon.

However, a condition of the sale is that EE would have to approve Three rolling out UK 4G at 1,800MHz, and obviously it ain’t gonna be in any sort of hurry to do so.

As such, the Ofcom auction for 800MHz and 2,600MHz 4G spectrum could actually take place before Three gets to make use of its 1,800MHz, rendering this entire situation moot.

Presumably Vodafone and O2 will be fuming. Incidentally, they’re forming a colossal network together, though they’ll continue to operate as independent entities.

Read more about: 3 MobileOrangeT-mobileO2Vodafone

Add a comment

Pondlife  Nov. 1, 2012 at 12:35

EE only have to handover the spectrum in september 2013 according to articles at time of the sale, can't imagine them doing so before then. Especially having seen their mad 4g pricing..

Hardly a surprise that 3 would like it to be sooner too and they'd still be in the moany team if they hadn't got this deal.

Andy247  Nov. 1, 2012 at 17:23

They should still be in the moany team to be honest, because 1800MHz spectrum, whilst nice to have for Three, isn't really what they're after. At the moment, Three only own high frequency spectrum, (the lease low frequency 2G spectrum in some areas as a backup from EE) which is why they have great outdoor coverage (in some areas) and generally poor indoor coverage, particularly in older properties with thicker walls and well built solid building materials.
Three need to get 800MHz spectrum that's being set aside by OFCOM in the forthcoming auction to continue to function. If a new entrant came in and nabbed that, and after all it's being retained for Three OR a new entrant, Three would be up for sale and/or out of business quicker than you can say Woolworths. At their current rate of growth, the entire business model is dependent on it to get in building penetration and finally stop the moans about them having one of the largest (but still weakest), 3G networks in Britain, never mind 4G.

Pondlife  Nov. 1, 2012 at 17:29

I thought it wasn't being kept aside for them since the EE merger and that was one of the reasons they'd been in the moany team since then.

Andy247  Nov. 2, 2012 at 11:25

I thought it wasn't being kept aside for them since the EE merger and that was one of the reasons they'd been in the moany team since then.

OFCOM have still kept aside a slice for a bidder other than Vodafone, O2 and EE, so it's assumed to be for Three, although it could be purchased by a new entrant to the market. The spectrum from EE they're getting was a condition of the merger to avoid EE becoming too large and/or dominant, but it's still not what Three need to get their signal up to scratch in people's homes.

Pondlife  Nov. 2, 2012 at 12:32

Yeah I knew why ee had to sell it. Could argue that merger conditions weren't strong enough given their 4g position. And that its more of the same rather than low end spectrum which makes it easier to pass into buildings
I read somewhere along the line that ofcom had opened that slot in bidding out to all bidders but guess 3 might have moaned enough to get that proviso back in place.
Wonder if Virgin could bid for that slice, unless happy with their arrangements with ee anyway


You don't need an account to comment. Just enter your email address. We'll keep it private.