Mobile phone competition under threat, says Three boss
Wednesday 22 June 2011
The head of the mobile phone network Three warned that auctioning off Britain's radio frequency spectrum could destabilise "fragile" competition in the UK and potentially see his company drop out of the market altogether.
Ofcom, the telecoms watchdog, is currently drawing up plans to sell off the spectrum which will be crucial for mobile providers to offer fourth-generation (4G) services, and the mechanism for doing so has been hotly debated by the rival UK operators.
Kevin Russell, the outgoing chief executive of Three, told MPs on the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee yesterday: "This decision on spectrum fundamentally sets up the competitive structure for the UK mobile market for the next 10 years."
Should the auction structure be wrong following the merger of Orange and T-Mobile, he warned, "the danger is that five operators goes to four, then goes to three in a very short period of time". Without access to the spectrum "we cannot grow as quickly as we need to", Mr Russell added.
He said the impact of Orange and T-Mobile merging to create Everything Everywhere had "yet to be felt" but the move meant "there will be a degree of competitive tension that comes out of the marketplace". He warned the MPs: "There is a fragility to the competitive dynamic of the UK marketplace."
Mr Russell said Three was also angry that its rivals O2 and Vodafone had been able to use "re-farmed" spectrum for 3G services from the start of this year without having to pay a higher fee. He said: "That, to Three, does not seem fair."
Everything Everywhere's deputy chief executive, Richard Moat, agreed that O2 and Vodafone's "significant advantage" over their rivals was unfair to other operators.
- 1 What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible
- 3 The Chinese city where men have 'three girlfriends because there are so many women'
- 4 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
- 5 Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
iJobs Money & Business
£16000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Foreign Exchange Dealer is re...
£20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...
£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...