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December 4, 2015

Three and O2 legal attack halts Ofcom 4G spectrum auction

News: MoD spectrum sale won't go ahead as planned in December.

By Alexander Sword

Ofcom is delaying its upcoming 4G spectrum auction after Telefonica and Hutchinson Whampoa mounted legal challenges.

The sale of spectrum in the 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz bands will now take place after the European Commission takes a decision on the proposed merger between the mobile operators Three and O2, owned by these companies.

Ofcom‘s decision comes following letters from Telefonica and Hutchison, which stated that they would bring judicial review proceedings against Ofcom’s decision to conduct the auction in December, before the Commission’s decision.

The regulator announced this date for the auction in late October. The spectrum, previously held by the Ministry of Defence, will be used for 4G services, and is a particularly important one for Telefonica, which owns O2.

"O2 missed out on the 2.6 Ghz spectrum at the 4G auction in 2013 (it did purchase 800 MHz frequencies), so this could be important for them from a capacity perspective," Kester Mann, Principal Analyst at CCS Insight, told CBR following the announcement.

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