Vodafone has claimed that mobile operators need help in tackling a "backhaul bottleneck" in order to roll out a successful 4G network.
At a Westminster e-forum event today, Vodafone's head of regulatory affairs, Matthew Braovac, argued that changes are needed in the way that BT's backhaul infrastructure is managed and regulated.
Braovac suggested that there should be new planning rules based on tighter controls on BT pricing for backhaul links. He said that mobile operators should have the ability to deploy fibre in BT's ducts for mobile backhaul.
This arrangement already exists for fixed-line services but Braovac says it should also be the case for mobile.
"All networks have asked for this and we're happy to pay rental for it, too," Braovac said.
He said that tackling the backhaul bottleneck would allow for a rapid release and effective management of more spectrum for fixed microwave links.
"We want 4G to be a success. Backhaul is the key thing to enable this and the regulator needs to deal with this," Braovac added.
Although O2 and Vodafone are sharing each other's network infrastructure, it's not cost effective, Braovac said, if both networks are independently paying BT for backhaul links.
Three's director of network strategy, Phil Sheppard, agreed with Braovac that backhaul links were critical for a successful 4G rollout.
"It's critical to user experience. We have, together with EE, invested in building that network with BT and Virgin Media. That's a critical part of speed," he said.