Ofcom’s revised proposals for 4G coverage in the U.K – Comment from Ovum

 

U.K. communications regulator Ofcom has outlined revised proposals to make fourth-generation mobile coverage available in the U.K., including new measures to extend coverage to at least 98% of the population and plans to promote competition.

Matthew Howett, Analyst at Ovum has the following comment:

“From this, Ofcom’s second consultation it’s clear that Ofcom continues to value Three’s disruptive nature and wants to in effect guarantee its existence post-auction, however considers that Everything Everywhere has sufficient spectrum available not to be protected in the same way. Most importantly Ofcom has recognised the attractiveness of the 1800MHz band in that it offers a nice balance between coverage and capacity.  

“It should be stressed that things could yet change if Everything Everywhere divest the 1800MHz (as required as part of the merger conditions from Europe.) before the auction. If this spectrum is auctioned before the joint award of 800MHz and 2.6GHz it could remove the need for any spectrum reservation. This is not insignificant given the growing interest in launching LTE at 1800MHz. 

“Ofcom has essentially been stuck between a rock and a hard place. It wants to award these frequencies as quickly as possible to the benefit of consumers, but also wants to ensure that they do so in a competitive way. The decisions they take now are likely to affect the level of competition in the sector for at least a decade. Striking a balance was never going to be easy. The set of proposals now on the table appear to leave everyone with something to be optimistic about, but at the same time requires compromises to be made. Perhaps Ofcom have got it right?”

 

  

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