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EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE has announced that it will transfer some of its 1800MHz spectrum to rival mobile network Three, giving it the ability to launch 4G services this year too.
Earlier today, Ofcom gave Everything Everywhere permission to launch 4G services in the UK next month using its existing 1800MHz network, much to the disapproval of rival operators.
However, Everything Everywhere has now said that it will dispose 2X15MHz of its 1800MHz spectrum to Three as required by Ofcom, and has told The INQUIRER that Three will also be able to start rolling out 4G services in the UK ahead of schedule, although an exact time frame is still to be confirmed.
It's unclear how much the spectrum is being sold for, but Three is likely to have gotten a lower price than it will bidding against its rivals in next year's spectrum auction.
"As part of the commitments given when the European Commission approved the merger of Orange and T-Mobile in the UK in March 2010, Everything Everywhere was required to divest 2X15MHz of its 1800MHz spectrum," said an Everything Everywhere spokesperson.
Dave Dyson, CEO of Three UK, said: "Acquiring this spectrum will more than double the capacity available to customers on our network. We have seen a huge growth in data consumption with average mobile handset customer usage now more than 1.1GB per month. Three has led the market in the significant growth of mobile data consumption and the shift to consumer use of smartphones to access the internet.
"New spectrum, supported by further committed technology spend, is a clear signal that we are committed to maintain our lead as the network built for the mobile internet."
Ofcom and the European Commission will review whether the divestment satisfies the merger commitments, and a response is expected within the next three months. µ