Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Court of appeal rejects Three's case for lower spectrum cap

By Chris Kelly, Total Telecom
Wednesday 14 February 18

Previously BT and Three had both bought separate actions regarding the amount of spectrum a single operator could own

Ofcom is to proceed with its 5G spectrum auction, after the Court of Appeal rejected a suit brought by Three. Three argued against a 37% cap on the amount of spectrum that any operator can own.  “The Court of Appeal has very firmly rejected Three&rsquo…

Ofcom is to proceed with its 5G spectrum auction, after the Court of Appeal rejected a suit brought by Three. Three argued against a 37% cap on the amount of spectrum that any operator can own. 

“The Court of Appeal has very firmly rejected Three’s application for permission to appeal on all grounds," read a statement from Ofcom. 
 
“We welcome this decision, and will now press ahead with releasing these important airwaves. This new capacity will allow mobile companies to offer more reliable reception, and to prepare for future 5G services.”
 
Ofcom is now expected to press ahead with its 5G spectrum auction in April 2018. Originally, the auction had been delayed by separate law suits brought by BT and Three, both of which were rejected in December. Three's recent appeal represented the last legal hurdle to be cleared before the auction cold commence. 
 
Three said that it was disappointed by the outcome of the appeal but that it would seek no further redress. 
 
“Our appeal is about competition in the UK mobile market and spectrum distribution is the single biggest factor in maintaining a competitive market," read a statement from the network operator. 
 
“The court process has helped provide clarity on whether there is a genuine 37 per cent cap and, thanks to the hearings, Ofcom is now much clearer that a 37 per cent cap is the level they believe is appropriate to maintain competitive balance.
 
“We still believe that a 37 per cent cap is too high if the policy objective is to have a competitive four-player market and we would like to see it set at a lower level in the future,” the statement concluded. 
 

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