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Vodafone slams Everything Everywhere’s 4G head start

Says Ofcom has shown 'careless disregard' for UK consumers
Tue Aug 21 2012, 11:43
A Vodafone logo

UK MOBILE NETWORK Vodafone has slammed Ofcom's decision to give Everything Everywhere a head start with its 4G rollout, saying that the regulator has shown a "carless disregard" for UK consumers.

Ofcom announced today that it has given Everything Everywhere, the joint venture of Orange and T-Mobile, the green light to start rolling out 4G services in the UK using its existing 1800MHz spectrum. This head start means the network can start rolling out 4G services from 11 September, hinting that the network might exclusively offer the next generation Iphone with fast 4G connectivity.

As expected, Everything Everywhere's rival networks aren't too pleased with Ofcom's decision. Vodafone was the first operator to publicly slam the regulator for giving Orange and T-Mobile a head start, saying Ofcom has shown "careless disregard" for UK consumers.

A Vodafone spokesperson told The INQUIRER. "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.

"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.

"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.

"We wholeheartedly support the Secretary of State's call for the 4G auction to occur in December and look to the regulator to finally do its job and produce a competitive market for 4G services as soon as possible.

"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." µ


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