Vodafone and O2's spectrum could be taken away


Vodafone and O2 may have their chances to keep hold of their spectrum share quashed following new proposals from the Government regarding Digital Britain.

Last month, IT PRO reported the minister for communications, Lord Carter, saying he wanted to earmark the 900Mhz airwave used by the two firms for mobile broadband in rural areas.

A report by Kip Meek today has proposed to exclude the two dominating firms from future auctions of spectrum following the ongoing dispute about sharing that is yet to be resolved.

In the report, Meek said: "If a negotiated outcome is not arrived at, the proposal in the... Ofcom consultation document is that Vodafone and O2 be required to relinquish 2x5MHz of contiguous spectrum, this to be auctioned."

"Although neither 900MHz operator likes this proposal and both made clear that it would impose inconvenience on their customers and substantial costs, at least one operator was satisfied with its outcome."

That one operator was O2, which released a statement on its website today saying it welcomed the new report.

Ronan Dunne, chief executive of O2, said: "This report is a significant step forward in making Digital Britain a reality and is good news for UK PLC. Spectrum allocation is a complex question."

"Throughout the process we've looked for a solution that delivers the Government's vision for Digital Britain, while ensuring we can continue to deliver a great customer experience. We are pleased with the progress of the discussions and that there can now be a public debate on these proposals."

Vodafone declined to comment.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.