Modern-day god of the sky Ofcom has released the rules that will cover the next batch of mobile frequency auctions, and it's sort of good and sort of bad depending on which of the mobile networks you wear the scarf of.
The headline number is 37 per cent; that's the limit of how much of a share of the overall radio frequency range that any one network will be allowed to own. This is seen as an attempt to limit the future expansion of EE and Vodafone, which Ofcom and their rivals think have enough of the airwaves already. O2 and Three wanted it down as low as 30 per cent to stop EE and Vodafone buying up more to expand 4G and start 5G, so they're not hugely impressed by the limit.
Three's boss Dave Dyson is particularly furious, telling the FT that: "By making decisions that increase the dominance of the largest operators, Ofcom is damaging competition, restricting choice and pushing prices up for the very consumers that it is meant to protect. The mobile market is imbalanced and failing customers. Ofcom has shown little interest in tackling the problem. We will consider our response as a matter of urgency." [Ofcom via BBC]
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