UK MOBILE OPERATORS Vodafone, O2, EE and Three will meet with the government and Ofcom later today to reach an agreement about the sale of 4G spectrum.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) told The INQUIRER that the meeting will take place today, with newly installed culture secretary Marie Miller set to meet with the heads of the firms along with Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards.
If the parties can agree on a way forward, the meeting will also explore the possibility of bringing forward the auctions for 4G spectrum in the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands. Both O2 and Vodafone are interested in finding a way they can start offering 4G LTE services as soon as possible.
The firms were angered that Ofcom gave rival EE a head start in the market by approving the use of its existing 2G spectrum in the 1800MHz band for 4G services earlier this year.
EE moved rapidly and boasted that these services will be available before the end of the year, and it lucked into another advantage when Apple launched the Iphone 5 with 4G capabilities that can work on its 1800MHz spectrum but not on the future 800MHz or 2.6GHz networks.
The INQUIRER contacted Vodafone, O2, EE and Three for comment ahead of the meeting but had received no replies by the time of publication.
The meeting comes after Vodafone and O2 were given regulatory approval to share network infrastructure for both existing 2G and 3G services and upcoming 4G networks, in a move instigated as a result of the merger of Orange and T-Mobile to create EE. µ