The decision to allow Everything Everywhere to launch 4G services this year has incensed competitors.
Vodafone has been one of the most vociferous opponents of the possible decision to allow early deployment of 4G, and this move has brought some strong words.
"We are frankly shocked that Ofcom has reached this decision. The regulator has shown a careless disregard for the best interests of consumers, businesses and the wider economy through its refusal to properly regard the competitive distortion created by allowing one operator to run services before the ground has been laid for a fully competitive 4G market.
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"Ofcom's timing is particularly bizarre given the reports that Everything Everywhere is currently in discussions to sell some of its spectrum to 3, which Ofcom has previously been at such pains to protect with its over-engineering of the 4G auction. This means the balance in the auction will fundamentally change."
It's not fair!
"The regulator has spent several years refusing to carry out a fair and open auction. Now its decision today has granted the two most vociferous complainants during that entire process a massive incentive to further delay it."
Vodafone and O2 have long been campaigning to get the 4G spectrum auction up and running, which is something the red network is now trumpeting. However, the decision to delay the auction (which will allow all networks to start deploying superfast data speeds) is the result of constant appeals from all mobile operators, meaning the blame shouldn't lay totally at Ofcom's door.
"We firmly believe that a fully competitive market for 4G services is in the best interests of Britain. We have already committed ourselves to reach 98% of the UK population with indoor 4G services by 2015 – two years before Ofcom's own target – but we need to acquire spectrum in the auction to achieve this. Ironically, all that stands in our way right now is the regulator."