Everything Everywhere warns rivals over 4G rollout

The telecom company's CEO has warned it'll consider legal action if its plans for next-gen data are scuppered.

Any operators considering throwing a spanner in the works of Everything Everywhere's early 4G rollout should heed this warning. The company's chief executive has said if any networks try and get in the way, EE will consider legal action against the upcoming spectrum auction, which could stop the 4G fun for everyone, the FT reports.

Everything Everywhere is the umbrella company for Orange and T-Mobile. Its CEO Olaf Swantee has promised to stay hands-off when it comes to the auction, but only as long as the other operators do EE the same favour. Let's all hope this doesn't get messy, or 4G could be delayed even longer.

Just like with nuclear weapons, legal action would mean mutually assured destruction: if one network pulls the trigger, so does everyone, and suddenly we're all in big trouble.

Ofcom granted Everything Everywhere permission to use existing spectrum to bring 4G speeds to the UK ahead of everyone else. The other networks will have to wait until the spectrum auction at the end of the year.

Vodafone wasn't best pleased, saying it was "frankly shocked that Ofcom has reached this decision".

Swantee's verdict? The other operators are behaving like children. The industry needs to "grow up" according to him. "I am concerned that we are at the mercy of our competitors," he said. "I will commit here and now to support the auction process, even though there are aspects of the auction rules that we don't like.

"However, and I am hoping it doesn't come to this, if there is litigation against Ofcom's ruling, we will have no choice but to review our position."

And what of Everything Everywhere's 4G plans? The company will have devices in the shops this year, Ofcom-permitting. It'll offer dongles that'll pick up the 4G signal, with compatible phones coming soon after. "We will start small," Swantee said, "but are confident that we can roll out quickly across a large part of the population."

Is anyone else worried this will descend into litigation hell, holding up the 4G rollout even longer? Let me know your thoughts in the comments, or on Facebook.

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