3 UK is among a group looking to generate public support for spectrum caps in the UK, as it continues efforts to prevent rivals controlling the lion’s share of the market’s airwaves.
The operator is supporting a campaign called Make the Air Fair, calling for supporters to “send a letter supporting the 30 per cent cap on network airwaves to Ofcom CEO Sharon White (#TellSharon)”. A pre-prepared missive is available via the campaign website.
What is so far unclear is the public appetite to get involved in a debate about spectrum allocation. Certainly a consultation by the US Federal Communications Commission into net neutrality sparked significant public interest, although it is far from clear-cut that the spectrum issue (which also has a strong element of corporate interest at its heart) will do the same in the UK.
Last week, Ofcom said it would prevent BT from bidding on 40MHz of spectrum available in the 2.3GHz band in a planned process, although it did not place a bar on 3.4GHz bids, because of the lack of immediate use.
“We believe it is important that operators are given an opportunity to acquire this spectrum so they are able to consider early development of 5G services,” Ofcom said.
Make the Air Fair, however, said that “under its current proposals, BT would be able to bid on four fifths of the spectrum which is being auctioned next year”.
It warned that “we should look at the other sectors that BT has monopolised”, pointing its finger at the fixed broadband market and activities of its Openreach business.
“We have been crippled and left in the digital dark ages through their shambolic underinvestment in the UK’s network infrastructure,” it wrote.
Other supporters of Make the Air Fair are CityFibre, Gamma, TalkTalk, Federation of Communication Services and Relish.