Three says it will be hit hard by Ofcom’s delay of mobile auction

Network operator Three has said Ofcom’s decision to delay the mobile spectrum auction, which will eventually allow faster mobile data use, will hit its customers and give its larger rivals an unfair advantage.

The network said the delay until the end of next year widens the “massive competitive and commercial imbalance” it suffers from. It is angry that, until after the auction, rivals are able to use their existing low frequency spectrum for 3G data services without paying a premium.

Ofcom said the decision to delay the auction gives it time to address the concerns of the major UK networks, all of which have complained about the terms set out.

The last spectrum auction raised £22.5bn, although analysts expect the 4G auction to pull in closer to £4bn.