The latest chapter in the UK's LTE saga is an intriguing one, concerning the spectrum 'sale' from EE to rival carrier Three. Before the recent spectrum auctions even began, EE was instructed to sell off a chunk of its existing 1800MHz spectrum -- used for their 4G LTE service -- by regulators. Three picked this up, but a recent report suggests it may have been the ultimate bargain.
According to a report in The Guardian, Three paid a grand total of £0 for the chunk of spectrum. Thats right. Nothing, nil, nada. Considering the estimated value lay in the region of £450million, this all seems very, very strange. After all, the other carriers need additional spectrum to launch their own LTE services, so why would EE just give it away?
EE reportedly decided the safest bet for them was to forego offers from Vodafone and O2, and give it away to the UK's smallest network. Despite having probably the best contract deals in the UK, Three's customer base is around 10million, compared to EE's 27million.
The deal was also supposedly designed to help tip the spectrum auction in EE's favor, leaving them more chance of picking up a good portion of the valuable 800MHz spectrum. As it turned out, both EE and Three emerged with a small piece of 800MHz, and if all this is indeed true, Three has kickstarted its LTE network without spending a whole lot of money.
Source: The Guardian