O2, Vodafone, Three slam Everything Everywhere 4G campaign

By Sooraj Shah
01 May 2012 View Comments

Mobile operators O2, Vodafone and Three have spoken out against Everything Everywhere's 4GBritain campaign, claiming it is solely in the interests of Everything Everywhere.

Everything Everywhere (EE) had said the campaign was to "raise awareness about 4G LTE" in a bid to speed up the rollout of the technology in the UK.

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However, rivals including Three have said the campaign is not about raising awareness, as claimed, but about EE launching a 4G service before its competitors, giving it exclusive rights to deliver 4G services using the 1800MHz spectrum.

Regulator Ofcom is due to make a decision on what happens to the 1800MHz spectrum after a consultation period, which ends on 8 May 2012.

One of EE's rivals, O2, said in a statement: "Everything Everywhere has asked the government for a change to its licence to run 4G services on their existing 2G network band, so they can launch up to a year early – something the other operators are not in a position to do.

"It would seem, therefore, that this campaign is about the interests of one business, rather than the benefit of all UK customers, or delivering on the promise of making Britain digital."

Mobile operator Vodafone said EE had omitted information about having the biggest spectrum share in the market in its campaign, and that this suggested that other operators were in a position to launch 4G services.

"EE's claim that today's operators can also launch 4G services [subject to a willingness to invest and a variation to their licence] conveniently forgets that EE controls over 83% of all mobile spectrum in the frequency band that Ofcom is considering to vary [depending on its decision after the consultation period].

"Other operators are using their more limited spectrum holdings to serve current customers so they cannot clear it as quickly as EE. Therefore, we believe the introduction of 4G should be linked to the availability of suitable amounts of cleared spectrum for other players," it said.

Both Three and Vodafone said they had been approached by EE to join the campaign but resisted as they did not have the information needed to fully understand the intentions behind it.

Everything Everywhere was not available to comment.

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