back to article Ofcom retreats from 4G spectrum auction after legal threat from Three, O2

Ofcom has halted its 4G spectrum auction, following threats of legal action from Telefónica UK and Hutchison. The two mobile operators are currently being probed by antitrust officials in Brussels, who are considering whether Telefónica UK's planned sell-off of O2 to Three owner Hutchison "would harm competition". The firms' …

  1. bazza Silver badge


    Two bands were made available (2.3GHz and 3.4GHz)

    So how close to WiFi is the first one of those going to get? And how many crummy WiFi devices are there with awful RF front ends with next to no selectivity that are going to crap out?

    Lightsquared all over again?

    1. John Sager

      Re: Hmmmmm

      There is 10MHz between the top of the 2.3GHz band and the bottom of 2.4GHz wifi band. Any self-respecting filter should be able to sort that out, and it's not like wifi is below the noise threshold like GPS is, so no, it's not Lightsquared again.

      1. bazza Silver badge

        Re: Hmmmmm

        Any self-respecting filter should be able to sort that out...

        Well we'll see. I'm not convinced that every £5 WiFi NIC comes with a half decent front end filter.

        ...and it's not like wifi is below the noise threshold like GPS is,

        Ah, a classic mistake. If an RF front end gets saturated by a high power jamming signal, the receiver won't be able to pick up any other signal at all regardless of whether or not it's above or below whatever one defines as being the noise floor. A front end amplifier that's clipping won't pass anything worth a damn.

        So if a WiFi NIC has a poor quality RF front end (a distinct possibility) and is co-located with a 4G phone (effectively a certainty in this day and age) pushing out a good 0.5W of RF, it's by no means certain that the NIC won't get saturated and crap out.

        I'm sure OFCOM has thought about it, or at least I hope so...

        1. Danny 14

          Re: Hmmmmm

          tough shit for buying a cheap £5 wifi dongle really.

  2. paulf

    Any objections?

    I would normally expect, in the tradition of winning spectrum auctions via M'Learned colleagues, for the networks not involved in this decision (i.e. the other two: EE and Vodafone) to lawyer up against this decision.

    I can't see EE wanting to upset their new BT Overlords who'll want to avoid rocking any OFCOM boats until 1. The EE acquisition is rubber stamped + ink is dry and 2. the investigation into OpenReach is over.

    So that would leave Vodafone to challenge it alone, and I can't see them fighting a solo battle on that front.

  3. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Refreshing to find a regulator being beaten up by it's clients.

  4. casaloco

    So basically

    So basically ofcom put the sale off until after the merger is decided. The merger might be rejecte dif they control too much spectrum, but at the same time if they held of buying the spectrum to avoid upsetting the merger and the merger failed... they would be unfairly disadvantaged. More importantly for ofcom, if the spectrum sale went ahead and they chose not to bd to avoid affecting the merger, ofcom would get far less money for the spectrum.

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