Telcos challenge Ofcom to introduce spectrum cap
CEOs of Three, TalkTalk, CityFibre, Relish and the FCS pen letter to Ofcom chief Sharon White calling on her to introduce 30% limit on UK spectrum
UK regulator Ofcom is facing calls to introduce a 30% cap ahead of a UK spectrum auction due to take place in 2017.
Ofcom is expected to open a consultation on the auction, which will see the release of 190MHz of spectrum, next month.
A letter penned by the CEOs of Three UK, TalkTalk, CityFibre, Relish, and the Federation of Communications Services, claims the UK “suffers from the largest imbalance in spectrum distribution across mobile operators of any developed country” with BT holding “nearly half” of all spectrum, and Vodafone around 29%.
It is addressed to Ofcom CEO Sharon White, and challenges her to cap a company’s spectrum holding at 30%, which would prevent BT and potentially Vodafone bidding next year, but allow Three, O2 and other entrants to take part in the auction.
“You can fix this. The next auction of spectrum could be your last opportunity to give UK mobile customers a highly competitive mobile market which gives them the speeds, coverage and performance they deserve and demand,” the group of chief executives said in the letter.
“A 30% cap is not a radical intervention as it has no downside or negative consequences. A cap at this level will allow a competitive bidding process among existing operators and new entrants and provide a fair return to the public purse.
“By protecting effective competition and supporting a market with genuine choice, a 30% cap would also deliver significant long-term economic benefits for the UK well beyond the short-term sales proceeds of the auction.”