Notice of proposed variation of Everything Everywhere’s 1800 MHz spectrum licences to allow use of LTE and WiMAX technologies
1.1 This document gives notice of our intention to vary Everything Everywhere's (EE) 1800 MHz Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006 licences to allow the use of LTE and WiMAX technologies in this band. We invite comments on this proposal by 17 April 2012.
1.2 This notice is in response to a request from EE to authorise the use of LTE technology under their licences for 1800 MHz spectrum. It follows the European Commission's adoption of a harmonisation decision requiring all EU Member States to designate and make available 900 MHz and 1800 MHz spectrum for LTE and WiMAX use.
1.3 LTE/WiMAX services are not currently widely available to citizens and consumers in the UK. There is however widespread demand for mobile data services in the UK, and that demand is growing significantly. The availability of new high-speed mobile data services is likely to bring material benefits to consumers and citizens.
1.4 If we were to vary EE's licence now, it would be likely to be the only entity capable of providing LTE/WiMAX services on a national basis for a period of time. In accordance with the relevant legal framework, we have therefore considered whether there is a risk of distortion to competition arising from authorising EE's 1800 MHz licences for LTE and WiMAX technologies. For the reasons set out in this document we do not consider that any material risk of distortion to competition will arise if we vary EE's licence as requested.
1.5 Nonetheless, to the extent that any such risk might arise, we have gone on to assess whether there would be any objectively justifiable, proportionate, non-discriminatory and transparent measures which would address such risk. In particular, we have considered the extent to which the benefits to consumers and citizens which we believe will arise from the availability of new LTE services might be outweighed by any temporary or longer term distortion of competition in such services to the detriment of citizens and consumers.
1.6 As our view is that there is no material risk of a distortion of competition if EE is permitted now to use the 1800MHz band to deploy LTE and/or WiMAX technologies, we propose to vary EE's 1800 MHz licences as soon as practicable, subject to this consultation.