UK operators to refrain from litigation over Everything Everywhere 4G approval

11 September 2012 |


UK mobile operators have reportedly agreed not to launch legal action over the approval of Everything Everywhere’s (EE) early roll-out of 4G services for a month.

The Financial Times reports that Everything Everywhere’s rivals, Vodafone, Hutchison Whampoa’s 3UK and Telefonica’s O2, will hold off legal action against regulator Ofcom for granting its approval for the roll-out to allow time for talks to be held.

Under the agreement France Telecom and Deutchse Telekom joint venture Everything Everywhere will not roll out 4G services from the beginning of September while the talks are being held.

A source told the publication that the industry would have got to a point of “mutual destruction” if legal action was taken and that this would be a “cooling off” period allowing the industry to work out a collective way forward.

The move follows a call by the UK government last week for the chief executives of the country’s mobile operators to find an agreement to avoid litigation that would hold up the roll-out of 4G services, according to the Financial Times.

Approval for Everything Everywhere’s 4G roll-out was granted in August leading to complaints from rival operators that it would damage competition in the UK.

EE is able to launch services ahead of its competitors due to the excess of 1800MHz spectrum it came into possession of through the formation of the JV, combining the frequency holdings of France Telecom’s Orange and Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile.

Rivals Vodafone, 3UK, and O2 will have to wait until a spectrum auction next year to acquire the frequencies necessary for their own roll-out of 4G services.