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Everything Everywhere drops spectrum refarming threat

Everything Everywhere, the company formed from the merged operations of T-Mobile UK and Orange UK, has dropped a legal threat against the refarming of 2G spectrum for 3G services.The European Commission and Ofcom are keen to allow spectrum in the 900MHz band, currently used only for GSM voice and text services, to be refarmed for 3G data use.
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Written by David Meyer on

Everything Everywhere, the company formed from the merged operations of T-Mobile UK and Orange UK, has dropped a legal threat against the refarming of 2G spectrum for 3G services.

The European Commission and Ofcom are keen to allow spectrum in the 900MHz band, currently used only for GSM voice and text services, to be refarmed for 3G data use. This would allow mobile broadband services to be deployed more cheaply than happens now, as 900MHz allows for much further propagation, and therefore fewer base stations, than the 2.1GHz spectrum currently assigned to 3G.

O2 and Vodafone have 900MHz spectrum, but T-Mobile and Orange's 2G spectrum resides in the 1800MHz band. When the coalition government took over, it indicated that it wanted to allow refarming without a competition assessment, so Everything Everywhere threatened legal action.

An Everything Everywhere spokesperson noted that, when culture minister Ed Vaizey took over responsibility for spectrum issues, the government decided not to go ahead with former independent spectrum broker Kip Meek's proposals — in a report in May 2009, Meek had told the government that, because of the disparity between operators' 2G spectrum holdings, anyone with sub-1GHz spectrum should only be able to buy a capped amount of further spectrum in the upcoming '4G' auction.

The spokesman said the company had "decided to withdraw the threat of legal action further to a set of conversations between [chief executive] Tom Alexander and Mr Vaizey and BIS".

"They've recognised that having no sub-1GHz spectrum is a significant issue to us. We've gained confidence that the auction rules will address the disparity, and pursuing legal action would not have helped us in the long run."

Since leaving the post of independent spectrum broker, Meek has become the head of YouView/Project Canvas, the BBC and BT's upcoming digital TV platform, and is also employed as a part-time adviser to Everything Everywhere.

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