Vodafone UK has spoken out against Ofcom's approval of Everything Everywhere's LTE proposals, telling TechWeek Europe that it is surprised by the decision. The company's head of external communications Richard Wray told the site that Vodafone "seriously doubts that consumers’ best interests will be served by giving one company a significant head start before any of its competitors have a clear path to 4G." Everything Everywhere — owner of both Orange and T-Mobile — cited Ofcom's decision yesterday as important in ensuring "that the UK does not get left behind in the building of a new infrastructure for the digital economy." And while Wray agrees, he also believes that "the full benefits will only be realised if there is more than one network that provides 4G services."
Ofcom's decision to allow the deployment of LTE on the 1800MHz band circumvents the need for the UK's largest operators (Vodafone, O2, and Everything Everywhere) to wait for a spectrum auction before rolling out LTE service, since all three own licenses for the band from its use in 2G networks. The regulator also said that it would welcome similar applications from Vodafone and O2's parent company Telefónica. This is worse news for Three, which only holds licenses for 3G bands and as such would be unable to employ the same license variation to develop its own service. Vodafone says that it is analysing Ofcom's reasoning for granting Everything Everywhere this variation, and will decide how to respond to the consultation in due course. We've contacted both O2 and Three for comment on the matter, and will update as soon as we hear back from them.