Ofcom beats off operator challenge on 4G

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You win one, you lose one. Ofcom is celebrating after a court ruled in its favour over the regulator’s plans for a UK spectrum auction.  Ofcom had been sued by EE and Three over its plans. Last month, Ofcom lost a case over the cost of 4G licences.

In this new case, EE and Three brought the case to a judicial review because of Ofcom’s plans for spectrum allocation.

There was a divergence in views between the two operators: Three wanted changes to the cap on spectrum allocation. Ofcom’s proposal was that no operator could own more than 37% of the total mobile spectrum, Three wanted the limit to be 30%.

EE, owned by BT, had other ideas and wanted the cap abolished entirely. The two were not part of a joint action but brought their cases separately.

Appeal

Mr Justice Green dismissed the operators’ pleas but did give them leave to appeal. Ofcom welcomed the news, promising to speed up the licensing process. It had previously criticized the action of the operators, saying that the course case was delaying the roll-out of the new services. The auction was originally planned for the end of this year but the court action put a stop to that plan

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