O2's parent company Telefonica and Vodafone and have castigated Ofcom, after the telecoms watchdog granted Everything Everywhere permission to begin offering 4G services up to 15 months before its rivals.
Vodafone claims the decision gives an "unjustifiable head start to the largest player which could seriously undermine competition in the UK market for many years to come". While Telefonica have said Ofcom, "fails procedurally" in its cost-benefit analysis of the issue with the proposal being "wrong on all counts".
Everything Everywhere, which owns the subsidiaries Orange and T-Mobile, said in its 60-page response to the consultation process that any first mover advantage would be tempered by its agreement to give up two 15MHz blocks of 1800MHz spectrum, in line with its European Commission commitments.
The company also argued that it should be allowed to proceed for the sake of consumers, who deserve to "enjoy the benefits of LTE as soon as possible".
With the dispute intensifying, Ofcom has been forced to respond. A spokesperson said in a statement, "The consultation responses raise a number of detailed issues that Ofcom must now consider carefully. We will publish a statement on the proposed variation as early as possible."