back to article Ofcom chief warns that carrier aggregation may be bad for consumers

The mergers of O2 and Three, and BT and EE, could drive prices up for consumers and be A Bad Thing. This is the warning given by Ofcom boss Sharon White in a presentation to the London School of Economics this week. She warned that fewer mobile operators could lead to prices rising. The mergers of telcos is pretty much the …

  1. Your alien overlord - fear me

    The problem with puttng kit in consumers broadband routers are this - at night, I switch mine off. If mine is the local neighbourhoods 'mast', no one gets a signal at night. I go off to Benedorm for a fortnights holiday.Whoops.

    If I get nosey and m0dify the routers firmware, I can get the metadata for everyones calls.

    If I move home and the new owners don't subscribe to Talktalk, goodbye service.

    1. Known Hero

      Not such an issue if there are multiple masts, not ideal granted but better than nothing or less.

      I wouldn't really mind that much contributing if they gave me some cash off my bill and it didn't adversely affect my internet usage.

    2. Daniel Hall

      I bet....

      .....DLM loves you!

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      The problem with puttng kit in consumers broadband routers are this - at night, I switch mine off.

      Not a problem! that is your choice...

      I suggest that TalkTalk will follow the 'conventional' femtocell model and restrict the phones that can use the cell, either to registered phones or like the BT Fon WiFi hotspot service to TalkTalk subscribers. Beyond this I doubt TalkTalk have any real interest in building their own 4G mobile network when they can piggyback on other infrastructure providers. [Aside: it is interesting that they aren't complaining to Ofcom about access to mobile infrastructure, but are complaining about access to Ofcom regulated fixed infrastructure...]

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      WImax

      Who needs home routers? With BT owning all the telegraph poles at present, via Openreach, it's a doddle to add wimax everywhere. That's why BT wants to hold on to Openreach.

    5. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Buzzword

    School next door

    The problem with putting kit in homes is that some homes are more affected than others. If you live within transmitting range of e.g. a local school, hospital, leisure centre, even a large pub, then your home ADSL will be knackered by schoolkids showing each other ISIS beheadings. Unless TalkTalk are planning to install fibre for such homes, it's a non-starter.

  3. lsces

    Poorer coverage today!

    Having been with Vodafone since the days of those big grey bricks I think I have a bit of experience, and none of it is good these days. In the analogue days I used to be able to use the phone most of the way between here and London, today there gaps in coverage and no signal a few miles north. CURRENTLY I have to go outside to switch the divert on and off, and get any useful bandwidth even at 2G and loading a cable connection which is now overloaded in the local exchange is not going to help. We need rural areas provided with ONE good supplier rather than several 'we will fix it next year' promises ... I've been waiting many years for Vodafone to fix it and I can't see that any of the competition can do any better !!! Perhaps we should just pay for the period that a usable connection can be achieved?

    1. chris 17 Silver badge

      Re: Poorer coverage today!

      @isces

      Thought about changing provider?

  4. Netscrape

    It's not just possible price rises with the mergers. Mobile is taking over and will replace much of the fixed landscape over the next 10 years or so. There is a competition issue here too.

    The mobile market has no wholesale or easy access to build new services other than reselling what's there already. Unlike the fixed market which is regulated and does have vibrant wholesale offerings.

    Ofcom need to address mobile wholesale in the near future and even more so if there are less players.

  5. Guy Swarbrick

    We need three carriers, not two. And more aircraft.

  6. rneuschul

    "This creates two problems."

    Nope: it creates at least three problems; the third being massive insecurity. And the fourth and the fifth ...

    Building meshlike infrastructures on the back of consumer routing devices is beyond crazy.

  7. Graham Triggs

    If you are concerned about prices, then you have a single PUBLICLY OWNED company providing the entire network infrastructure, and every mobile operator becomes an MVNO on that infrastructure.

    That way you provide maximum capactiy amd coverage for the minimum cost, and competition between customer facing companies keeps end user prices down.

    Flogging off slices of spectrum to the highest bidder, having them build their own networks and then passing that cost on to end users is expensive.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Economics

    since when has cash flow margin been a measure of return when you've invested North of £15bn ? Ms White perhaps you should have invested your life savings in Three in 2000. You'd be a lot poorer and decades from making a return on your investment. Exploring Three profitability leads to conclusions of irrational behaviour. OK you may not care if I get free stuff. But if you're running a business it's a poor one to be in.

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