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Ofcom may force mobile operators to share spectrum



09.04.2009

UK mobile operators are disputing how the 900MHz section of the radio airwaves should be allocated, which has raised speculation that the government may intervene.


The government has pledged to provide broadband to all areas of Britain and has provided the aforementioned section of the radio spectrum in order to achieve it. However, mobile operators such as Vodafone and O2 are not happy about sharing the spectrum with all the other operators as per the government’s intentions.


Ofcom has proposed that a small chunk of the spectrum be handed over to one other operator and has threatened to impose the solution if it isn’t agreed by the mobile operators by the end of the month.


Steve Blythe, head of spectrum strategy at Orange, explained why his company wants a share of the spectrum: "This has been a long standing problem. Unlike other European countries, where there has been some level of redistribution of spectrum, the UK government hasn't yet taken the opportunity to do that," he said. "900Mhz is key for our mobile broadband ambitions and to ensure a level playing field. If it isn't released O2 and Vodafone will have considerable cost advantages."

 

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