back to article Brit telcos plead with Ofcom: No one should own more than 30% of available spectrum

Telcos are calling on Ofcom to slap a 30 per cent cap on operators bidding in the next spectrum auction - a move that would limit the proportion of airwaves an operator can own. TalkTalk, Three, CityFibre, the Federation of Communication Services, and Relish called on the regulator to impose the moratorium in a joint letter …

  1. Mage Silver badge

    Simple solution

    No-one should "own" any of it, it's a fixed size national resource. Have a highly regulated single infrastructure with no licence fee.

    Have all the operators as resellers / retailers.

    The Spectrum licence windfalls result in poor licence condition for performance and coverage and Regulatory capture.

    It would be more efficient use too. Up to twice the capacity or more. Because if you chop it up between operators, statistically one in an area might have almost no users online and another operator at same location can be oversubscribed.

    The current system is purely to benefit treasury and is a misuse of the idea of competition serving the consumer.

    1. Gio Ciampa

      Re: Simple solution

      It'll never happen ... tax election bribes don't pay for themselves you know...

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Simple solution

        They could still charge licences for the retail / resellers, though really it's a tax on consumers, the cost gets passed on.

    2. Peter 26

      Re: Simple solution

      Although I agree in principal. Who do you trust to provide the infrastructure without ending up with a BT open reach situation?

    3. Adam Jarvis

      Re: Simple solution

      Indeed, a virtual Spectrum allocation (on demand) would be a much better proposition, with a price based on annual usage, but ofcom can't think ouside the box if they tried. Underused bandwidth, like Supermarket Land banks should never be allowed.

      Allowing the EE/BT merger was 'criminal', to say it had no effect on the future rollout of real Fibre FTTP is utterly incomprehensible, ofcom is an utter joke of an organisation.

      It has set back any rollout of real optical FTTP Landline Fibre indefinitely, going forward. BT has absolutely no reason to promote real Fibre now, as it would obsolete slower Mobile data overnight.

    4. Mark 110

      Re: Simple solution

      I just dropped in to make the same proposal but got beaten to it.

      Anyway. I would run it similar to Network Rail:

      - one public organisation runs the mobile network infrastructure (removing all the duplication of hardware and operating costs associated with running 4 networks)

      - the money saved from duplication can then be used to improve geographic coverage

      - that network operator could have access to other publlic infrastructure to install the network (I am thinking lamp-posts and rail infrastructure.

      - commercial organisations buy access to the network with penalties on the network operator for failure to deliver availability, coverage and/or capacity

      - hopefully as consumers we would get a better cheaper network. We would still pick up the bill, but the bill should be smaller.

  2. Simon Rockman

    Not all spectrum is equal. This spat about 2.3 and 3.4GHz - originally scheduled for sale last January - isn't that important.

    What's going on here is battle lines being drawn for 700MHz which is coming and far more important.

    The non-BT networks are all concerned that BT will claim it needs 700MHz for the Emergency Services Network and so lay claim to it.


    1. MJI Silver badge

      Give it to BBC

      They could use it well

    2. davidp231

      Is this the same ESN that EE has won the contract to operate?

  3. Mage Silver badge


    TV needs it, or else you give a win to Sky & cable forever.

    Mobile doesn't need 700MHz and the part of 800MHz isn't as much use as 1800 in reality.

    The way to better mobile is more smaller cells.

    The 0.92 GHz to 2.1GHz bands are already badly utilised.

    2.3GHz is fine for smaller cells.

    The 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz good for femto cells, LTE should have ZERO access to WiFi band.

    3.4GHz though is better for roof top LOS or open plan office femto than conventional mobile.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 700MHz

      "LTE should have ZERO access to WiFi band."

      Why? So that they have to pay the OfCom piece of silver?

      It's unlicensed technology agnostic spectrum.Technology now supports LTE in that band, and handset support for 2.3 and 3.4/3.5 GHz will not be available globally for some time.

      "Mobile doesn't need 700MHz and the part of 800MHz isn't as much use as 1800 in reality."

      REALLYY.... So the fact that the LTE that you receive deep inside a building is 800MHz has not hit home with you....or the fact that 3UK markets VoLTE800 as a 'coverage booster'?

      It's not all about speed. Phones, well they're used for voice calling too!

  4. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    One thought...

    Presumably spectrum (which is available nationwide) should only be rented by providers who offer a full nationwide service. e.g. Cityfibre are proud of offering service in 40 cities. But why should they be allowed to have spectrum in the countryside that they won't really use and which stops it being used by other providers who are willing to spend money on building infrastructure outside the easy-money of the cities?

    1. localzuk

      Re: One thought...

      Simple answer - because it results in a nice quick windfall for the treasury. That's all they care about really - the short term.

  5. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Try leasing

    Have the government keep all the spectrum - and let the phone companies (actually anyone) lease it by the second as they need it.

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