Three UK calls for restrictions on BT at auction

06 June 2016 |

Three UK has called for the country’s telecoms regulator to provide more spectrum at the next auction while putting restrictions on BT.

The call from Three UK CEO comes after Brussels blocked its proposed £10.5 billion merger with O2 last month. Three UK'S David Dyson, CEO told the Financial Times that BT could potentially outbid rivals that do not have the necessary spectrum to expand.

BT’s £12.5 billion acquisition of EE has positioned the operator in a dominant position with what it claims to be “close to half” of the spectrum in the country.

“Potentially, given how much spectrum they are already sitting on, BT is incentivised to strategically bid in the next auction to restrict the other operators in the market from increasing their spectrum portfolio … That could make life difficult,” Dyson told the FT.  

A smaller player like Three UK could easily be outbid by larger operators like BT and Vodafone. He urged the regulator to introduce “fairly significant restrictions” on both companies at the next auction, such as forcing both to give up spectrum before allowing further bids.

Dyson said the UK has “the most unbalanced spectrum ownership” in Europe and added: “We need competitive restraints to stop the imbalance getting worse.”

Ofcom is expected to auction spectrum in the 700MHz, 2300MHz and 3400MHz bands by the end of the year.