Mobile services are a vital part of every-day life and it is important that everyone in Huddersfield has access to affordable, quality services. I have recently received a large number of emails voicing concern regarding the fairness and quality of mobile services and proposed changes by Ofcom.
In the face of potential monopolisation of the market by one or two giant mobile providers, I agree with Ofcom’s proposed cap of a 30% market share for any single provider. This should encourage innovation and safeguard healthy competition for operators. This is especially important with regards to the upcoming spectrum auction. This auction will see the release of valuable new airwaves such as 4G into the public sector, creating an opportunity for some providers to dominate the marketplace. It is my understanding that Ofcom has proposed some measures to cap the amount of spectrum one operator can purchase, however this is only for spectrum which is ready to utilise. This does leave some concerns about the higher spectrum levels and the major network providers who may bid on them.
I wrote to the CEO of Ofcom, Sharon White, to voice these concerns and to ask what plans are in place to ensure that no single company has more than 30% of total available phone spectrum to help minimise a monopoly of services.
I have since received a reply explaining Ofcom’s pursuit of ‘reliable, high quality, fairly priced mobile services’ in the face of a greater demand for mobile connectivity. The UK has four national mobile network operators, and with more spectrum available this will encourage competitive and fairer deals for the UK. Sharon White has further explained that as BT/EE holds 45% of useable mobile spectrum, it is excluded from bidding for the 2.3 GHz band. The 3.4GHz band is not readily available and therefore is not owned by any previous operators there is no restriction on who can bid for this band. This is to open up the market for innovative new developments to these services.
I have also contacted the Department for Communities and Local Government to bring this to their attention and am awaiting their response.
The consultation on auction rules closes on the 30th January and I hope to see it encourage competition and innovation allowing the best deal for my constituents.