“You can take our spectrum… but you will never take our Three-dom!” were absolutely not the words Three’s Kevin Russell uttered regarding Ofcom’s plans to re-allocate 2G spectrum.
Braveheart references aside, the CEO of the numeric network is concerned that opening up the 2G frequencies will end up “jeopardising the whole competitive environment”, reduce competition, and will ultimately be bad for customers.
“Healthy competition is critical for UK consumers using mobile services,” argued Russell. “Ofcom and the Government must address the significant competitive distortions they have now created in pushing through the re-farm of spectrum currently used for 2G mobile services.
The competitive benefits of spectrum consolidation and concentration was a key driver in last year’s merger of Orange and T-Mobile. If the Government and Ofcom get this wrong further consolidation could result. Ultimately that can only be bad, not good, for UK consumers.”
Prior to giving the Everything Everywhere merger the go ahead in 2010, the European Commission was concerned about Three, the UK’s smallest network, being able to compete effectively. A result of the deal saw Three getting access to 3,000 more UK masts, thereby increasing its 3G coverage.
Image: Three Coverage Checker
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