Vodafone has hit back after Ofcom gave Everything Everywhere (EE) provisional approval to rollout a 4G mobile network this year.
The firm’s CEO has accused Ofcom of "taking leave of its senses". Ofcom said EE can use its existing 1800MHz spectrum for 4G this year saying it doesn’t consider the move a risk to competition with rivals.
Guy Laurence, CEO of Vodafone said, "[Ofcom] is all but agreeing to grant the largest player in the market a headstart on the next generation of mobile internet services."
Ofcom said, "As our view is that there is no material risk of a distortion of competition if EE is permitted now to use the 1800MHz band to deploy LTE and/or WiMAX technologies, we propose to vary EE's 1800 MHz licences as soon as practicable, subject to this consultation."
Vodafone disagrees saying that it is very concerned about the negative impact it will have of the competition between mobile operators in the UK.
Ofcom is accepting comments on the proposal with EE until 17 April. We’ve spoken to Ofcom which said there is no further comment to what it said last week in the EE announcement.
The following is a full statement from Vodafone CEO, Guy Laurence:
"Ofcom appears to have taken leave of its senses. The regulator has always stressed that competition is in the best interests of consumers and the British economy yet here it is all but agreeing to grant the largest player in the market a headstart on the next generation of mobile internet services.
This decision leaves Everything Everywhere free to prevent anyone else from launching 4G services by bogging next year’s auction down in endless litigation. It has already threatened to do so once before. On Ofcom’s own admission, all the other players in the market require new spectrum in order to run LTE so Ofcom’s plan will deal a terrible blow to competition in the UK.
Vodafone UK shares the desire of both the regulator and the Government to see the next generation of mobile internet services rolled out quickly and placed within the reach of many more people in rural areas. But Everything Everywhere will be under no obligation to offer services to any rural areas. Ofcom’s plan risks further widening the digital divide in this country.
We know the Government wants to be a friend to business but surely that shouldn’t mean giving the biggest player in the UK market such an undeserved advantage."