O2 Claims 4G Auction In UK Illegal Under EU Law

The proposed auction of the new 4G mobile services by the UK telecom regulatory board Ofcom is illegal under the European Union law, UK telecom service provider O2 claimed.

With this open protest against the proposed auction, O2 has joined another big name in the UK telecom industry, Everything Everywhere, who earlier claimed that the current terms of the auction process carry too many loopholes that could eventually bring it under legal complications in the foreseeable future.

Explaining the company’s stand on the issue, an O2 spokesperson reportedly claimed that there are aspects in the auction-process which constitute “state aid and are therefore illegal under EU law”.

Apparently, a portion of the spectrum to be auctioned falls into the under-1GHz category, whereas O2, along with Vodafone already owns some of the 900 MHz spectrum. Probably this is why Ofcom is trying to ensure that at least some of the new 800 MHz spectrum is allotted to the rival operators. But O2 strictly opposes the idea as according to it, the two frequencies, by no means can be treated in the same way.

“The proposed floors, and the argument that Vodafone and ourselves already have enough sub-1GHz spectrum, are based on the mistaken belief that 800 MHz and 900 MHz are directly comparable spectrums. They are not. Our response to Ofcom clearly explains why”, O2 said.