Spectrum-Sharing 4G Talks Between EE And Three Collapse

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EE would have gained the most from the deal with Three, source tells TechWeek Europe

Talks between EE and Three to share 4G spectrum have come to nothing, largely because Three did not see any benefit from  the deal,  TechWeekEurope understands.

The two had been discussing how they could work together to run services over the 800MHz they acquired in the recent 4G auction.

However, a source with knowledge of the talks told TechWeek they failed to deliver anything material as Three felt EE would have more to gain through a deal, given it had a larger customer base and therefore needed greater capacity in the 800MHz band.

EE hunting more spectrum?

EE is still the only provider running 4G services, running them over its 1800MHz spectrum, but it also bought 2x5MHz bands of 800MHz so it could offer better quality connections in different parts of the UK. Three bought the same amount.

EE may now seek other ways to boost its capacity in the lower frequency spectrum. An EE spokesperson said the company would not comment on rumour and speculation. According to a report in Mobile Magazine, it was EE that had chosen to back away from a spectrum sharing deal.

Three believes its 3G network offers comparable speeds and capacity to EE 4G. The company is expected to be the last of the major operators to run a full 4G service, with Vodafone and O2 expected to bring out products at the end of the summer.

EE still has to sell a chunk of its 1800MHz spectrum to Three, thanks to an EU ruling that came after the merger of Orange and T-Mobile to form Everything Everywhere (EE). That spectrum should be transferred over by September this year.

This first appeared on TechWeekEurope UK. Read the original story here.