Unfortunately, recent sales have resulted in the UK having the second most uneven distribution of spectrum in Europe. If left unaddressed, it could seriously threaten the benefits from competition that UK consumers enjoy.
To preserve the consumer benefits of competition, the National Audit Office has concluded that “ahead of any [future spectrum] sale, Ofcom should conduct a review of the competitive operation of mobile telecommunications markets”.
Three supports this and wants to see a renewed commitment to fair and open competition in all future spectrum auctions, to help preserve the benefits to the UK consumer and the UK economy.
Spectrum is carefully allocated by Ofcom, the communications regulator, with the proceeds of sales raising billions of pounds in revenue for Government. The Government also has an important role in this, as it can direct Ofcom to consider important overarching policy outcomes when allocating spectrum.
During the 3G auction in 2003, not only was some spectrum reserved for a new entrant (Three) to help improve competition, the auction was also structured to ensure all operators had access to comparable levels of 3G spectrum. As the demand for mobile data grows with increases in smartphone ownership, access to spectrum has become even more critical.
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