Ofcom is Being Dragged into Another 5G Dispute, This Time Between O2 and Three

By Shabana Arif on at

Mobile networks just can't seem to play nice when it comes to 5G, complaining over perceived unfairness, while gleefully wallowing in their own pools of privilege.

This week's spat is between O2 and Three, with the former complaining to Ofcom about Three's dibs on the 3.6GHz band block of the 5G spectrum. The 3.4-3.8GHz wedge “is currently the most important range of frequencies for the launch and development of 5G mobile services," according to O2 - something that Three has pretty much acknowledged.

Its website boasts that it has "more 5G spectrum than anyone else. And not all spectrum is created equal."

Back in 2017, Three got into it with EE over a 5G spectrum auction, saying the BT-owned company had an unfair advantage because of all the money it has at its disposal to blow at the auctions. But apparently all concerns over who has an unfair advantage don't apply when its Three reaping the benefits.

Three's slice of the 5G spectrum has the potential to allow for better coverage and higher speeds, but Ofcom has previously said that it wasn't so advantageous to the company that it would give Three “an unmatchable competitive advantage”.

While more bandwidth auctions are coming up, O2 is specifically concerned with frequency that Three has monopoly over. In response, Ofcom has said that it's "releasing more airwaves to support the roll-out of 5G.

"We’ve also proposed new measures to make it easier for mobile companies to bring together their different blocks of spectrum, to help provide a better 5G service for customers," the statement continues. "We are considering all responses to our consultation before making our final decisions later this year."

In a bid to get its 5G rollout off to a speedy start this October, O2 has teamed up with Vodafone, with the two companies agreeing to share their 5G infrastructure. The move has allowed O2 to expand its 5G launch from four cities to 20. [Trusted Reviews]