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5G in the UK: Ofcom pushing ahead with auction plans, despite Three appeal

Ofcom has vowed to press ahead with plans for a 5G spectrum auction, despite legal objections from mobile network Three.

The UK’s communications regulator hit out at Three for delaying access to the spectrum.

Three is currently appealing Ofcom’s rules for spectrum allocation. It claims high limits could enable larger operators like EE to snap up an unfair amounts of the precious resource.

Related: What is 5G?

Meanwhile, EE has dropped an earlier objection, which argued there should be no caps at all on how much spectrum networks are allowed to buy.

Ofcom plans to publish auction regulations next week, but won’t be able to accept bids until the Court of Appeal rules on Three’s concerns.

Immediate demand

That case will be heard on February 13-14 and Ofcom says the delay is harming consumers.

“The litigation by Three is continuing to delay access to the spectrum,” an Ofcom spokesperson said (via MobileWorldLive).

“Ofcom considers that it is in the public interest for the auction to take place as soon as possible, in light of the significant and immediate demand for access to the spectrum, and the immediate and direct benefits to consumers of faster, higher quality mobile data services that can be offered using the spectrum.”

Ofcom had initially planned to hold the auction for the 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz bands last autumn.

Three has already had its original protests dismissed by the High Court, and the Court of Appeal hearing will be its final opportunity to change the parameters of the auction.

Is Three right to pursue an arrangement less favourable to its larger rivals? Or are its tactics hurting UK consumers looking for next-gen speeds? Drop us a line @TrustedReviews on Twitter.

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