On the 8th May 2012, Ofcom’s consultation on Everything Everywhere’s (EE) application to launch 4G services early on the 1800MHz spectrum closed.
Today, Ofcom have published the responses to the application, in particular, responses from Vodafone and Telefonica (the parent company of O2). Ofcom have said that the responses raise a number of detailed issues that they must now consider carefully. They go on to say they will publish a statement on the proposal “as early as possible”.
So, let’s see how long this one is going to take Ofcom to sort out. More delays to a possible 4G service in the UK.
Vodafone submitted a detailed 55 page document, which can be read here. It was obvious that Vodafone would be against the proposal from the start. Vodafone’s main concern is that EE would be given an “Unjustifiable Head Start” if the proposition were to go ahead. They go on to say that to give an unjustifiable head start to the largest netwrok in the UK could “seriously undermine competition in the UK for many years to come”.
Telefonica (O2) have also had their say. Their reply can be read here. Again, a detailed response lasting 44 pages. In some way, a more aggressive response stating that “Ofcom is wrong on all counts” (page 16). They have also stated that “Creating a monopoly provider would be unlawful”.
We do agree with one point that Vodafone made, “We would urge Ofcom to hold a full and fair spectrum auction as soon as possible, so that all operators can access the necessary spectrum for 4G”
Whilst we agree with this one point, we disagree that EE should not be allowed to launch 4G services ahead of the auction. We reiterate that we fully support the 4g Britain Campaign.
If we had access to technology that enabled time travel, should we not be allowed to launch a time travel service and charge for this service, just because no-one else has the capability at this time to offer such a service? The UK needs a 4G service. We have a provider willing and able to offer the service. The 4G Spectrum auction is not due until the end of 2012. Even when the auction has taken place and everyone has their slice of the pie, the providers then have to enable their new spectrum, upgrade their networks and launch the services – not a quick task. We could be looking at another 12 months from now before we see any kind of 4G service in the UK.
We urge Ofcom to quickly consider the responses, as is only fair, but also consider the needs of the UK population. Should we really have to wait any longer for these services when a provider can offer it to us now?
We also ask our readers to voice their opinions both on the comments section of this post , and over on the 4gbritain.org website.