Three buys part of Everything Everywhere's 4G spectrum


Mobile operator Three is to buy a part of Everything Everywhere's 1800MHz spectrum, giving the company capacity to run 4G mobile broadband as early as this year.

Hutchison Whampoa-owned Three has agreed a deal to purchase two lots of 15Mhz of 1800Mhz spectrum from Everything Everywhere.

Following the merger of Orange and T-Mobile to form Everything Everywhere in 2010, the company was forced to sell off some of its spectrum by European competition authorities.

Financial terms have not been disclosed and European regulators, as well as Ofcom, must still approve the sale.

"As part of the commitments given when the European Commission approved the merger of Orange and T-Mobile in the UK in March 2010, Everything Everywhere was required to divest 2x15MHz of its 1800MHz spectrum," said an Everything Everywhere spokesperson.

"In accordance with these commitments, Everything Everywhere has today announced an agreement with Three. Ofcom and the European Commission will review whether the divestment satisfies the merger commitments and a response is expected within the next three months."

Dave Dyson, chief executive of Three UK, added: "Acquiring this spectrum will more than double the capacity available to customers on our network. We have seen a huge growth in data consumption with average mobile handset customer usage now more than 1.1GB per month.

"Three has led the market in the significant growth of mobile data consumption and the shift to consumer use of smartphones to access the internet. New spectrum, supported by further committed technology spend, is a clear signal that we are committed to maintain our lead as the network built for the mobile internet."

The spectrum deal between Everything Everywhere and Three comes after Ofcom allowed the former to offer 4G services ahead of a spectrum auction later in the year. Rivals Vodafone and O2 have lambasted the move. Vodafone called the timing of the Ofcom announcement "particularly bizarre".

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.