Feeds

Tesco Mobile complains to Ofcom

Virtual operator, real complaint

High performance access to file storage

Tesco Mobile, and O2 which provides its network, has complained to Ofcom that changes to spectrum allocation could drive the supermarket's mobile offering out of business.

Tesco has realised that when O2 loses half its 900MHz spectrum in 2009 it will be Tesco Mobile customers who suffer, as the virtual operator camps on O2's 2G network at 900MHz, and the supermarket monolith isn't planning to lose coverage without a fight.

Two blocks of spectrum around 900MHz were given, without charge, to Vodafone and O2 in the early days of mobile telephones, to stimulate the growth of mobile telephony, and it's hard to argue that the policy was unsuccessful. Reclaiming that allocation will reduce the 2G coverage, or capacity, the operators can provide.

Ofcom argues that since it handed over the frequencies without charge it should be free to take them back without recompense, and the regulator launched a public consultation on the matter back in September.

If the blocks were auctioned then the conditions attached to their use could also be changed, allowing 3G services (or other technologies) to utilise what is quite an attractive frequency in terms of range and building penetration.

The Financial Times reports that O2 has joined Tesco in complaining that Ofcom shouldn't be taking their frequencies away. O2 will be able to mitigate the damage by getting their customers to switch to 3G networks, as should Vodafone who haven't commented on the matter.

But the supermarket warned it might have difficulty remaining "a viable force in the UK market" should the spectrum snatch go ahead.

Assuming some intelligent network design the loss of frequencies should reduce capacity rather than coverage, so if the operators can get more of their customers onto 3G then the impact should be minimal.

Tesco Mobile, however, only operates on the 2G network so could find their customers stuck in a technical cul-de-sac. Unless they decide to bid for the frequency themselves, or can convince O2 to do so for them.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
Skype pimps pro-level broadcast service
Playing Cat and Mouse with the media
Beat it, freetards! Dyn to shut down no-cost dynamic DNS next month
... but don't worry, charter members, you're still in 'for life'
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.