Oh, sweet phones. Always there for us. They are life. They’re attached to our hands, they sleep in our beds. They put us in touch with friends who are oceans away, and even teach us how to code or speak Finnish in our spare time.
We can’t exist without our phones. Or the airwaves that let us have conversations, send messages, watch our favourite videos, listen to our music and so much more.
Spectrum – aka our national airwaves – isn’t something most of us think about in our daily lives… or, well, ever.
But we really should. Considering the role our smartphones and tablets play in every aspect of our daily functioning, spectrum is a vital resource (possibly not as essential as the air we breathe, but pretty darn close). Spectrum is responsible for a network’s reliability, speed and service. Not to mention the cost of your monthly phone bill.
Consider this: in the whole of the developed world, only Thailand and Malaysia have a larger imbalance of the airwaves amongst mobile operators when compared to the UK.
You may have seen the recent news that Ofcom, which will be selling a slice of our national airwaves next year, has blocked BT – who already owns approximately 42% of the mobile spectrum – from acquiring any more 2.3 Ghz range airwaves in the 4G spectrum.
However, no measures have been put in place to stop BT from increasing its share of spectrum in the future, or to cap BT from bidding for higher 3.4 Ghz, 5G frequency at a later date.
The truth is, BT/EE already own too much. And when we conducted a YouGov survey*, 65% of UK customers told us they support a proposed cap on how much spectrum one company can own.
We’re petitioning for a fairer split of the mobile spectrum, and Three UK has joined forces with TalkTalk, CityFibre, Federation of Communication Services and Gamma to get behind a campaign to urge Ofcom to ensure that no network can own more than 30% of all mobile spectrum
This campaign, known as Make the Air Fair, asks all supporters to send a letter supporting the 30% cap on network airwaves to Ofcom CEO Sharon White (#TellSharon).
This will mean faster speeds, lower prices and greater coverage regardless of your provider in the future. If Ofcom doesn’t address the imbalance at next year’s auction, patchy coverage, poor service and rising costs might become an everyday reality.
And that’s something we can’t even bear to think about.
To keep our airwaves fair, you can tell Ofcom to do something about it by signing the consultation at maketheairfair.org.
*Three and YouGov conducted a survey into consumer attitudes towards service providers. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2171 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken October 17-18, 2016. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).