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Three chief Dyson blasts BT over spectrum campaign criticisms

Alex Yau
March 27, 2017

BT Consumer CEO John Petter said Three’s ‘Make The Air fair’ campaign had been for its own benefit

Three UK CEO Dave Dyson has hit back at BT/EE following criticisms of the operator’s own ‘Make the Air Fair’ campaign that it had ‘been for its own benefit.’

BT Consumer CEO John Petter entered a war of words with it and O2 earlier this month after claiming its calls to cap spectrum were “not for the consumer’s benefit.”

He also slammed Three’s campaign, which urges Ofcom to cap airwaves held by operators at 30 per cent to benefit competition and pricing. EE holds the most with 45 per cent, followed by Vodafone (29 per cent), O2 (15 per cent) and Three (12 per cent).

Petter claimed Three was “expecting to get spectrum on the cheap”, who were unhappy with the competition that BT presented it with. He accused them of asking for a subsidy to achieve this, but that he didn’t think “anyone deserves anything on the cheap”.

‘Massive imbalance’

However, speaking on a conference call to discuss Three UK’s financial results for 2016, Dyson hit back and argued to Mobile News that BT and EE fear a cap on spectrum would impact their positions.

“The biggest question is why is BT pushing back on this? The obvious answer is they’re trying to protect their position in the market,” he said.

“They’ve built a dominant position over the last few years and I don’t think any operator across Europe has a bigger hold on spectrum.

“BT is more incentivised to protect that position because it allows them to dictate what happens in the market. There’s a massive imbalance and BT having more access to spectrum would be more detrimental than beneficial.”

The comments from Three’s UK boss came as it revealed revenues increased four per cent on an annual basis last year to £2.2 billion. More than £1.5 billion came from customer service revenue, whilst handset revenue contributed £531 million.

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