Everything Everywhere Employs Morgan Stanley For 4G Spectrum Sale

Everything Everywhere, the merged business of Orange and T-Mobile, has brought in Morgan Stanley to help sell off a portion of its 1800MHz spectrum suitable for 4G services.

The operator was ordered to sell off a quarter of its 1800MHz spectrum by the EU, under competition conditions when EE formed from the merger of Orange and T-Mobile’s UK networks. Everything Everywhere told TechWeekEurope it would either carry out its own auction this year or roll the sale into Ofcom’s twice-delayed 4G auction.

It is expected that the other major providers, namely Three, Vodafone and O2, will bid for the spectrum.

“Following a competitive process, Morgan Stanley has been appointed to provide independent professional advice on the sale of some of the company’s 1800MHz spectrum,” a spokesperson said. “The intention is to complete the sale of the spectrum in advance of the Combined Spectrum Award, currently scheduled to take place in Q4 2012.”

Deadline looms

There are questions over whether Everything Everywhere will meet deadlines imposed on it by the EU. The operator has until  September 2013 to clear its first block of spectrum, whilst a second chunk will have to be handed to a rival the following year. Yet Everything Everywhere told  TechWeekEurope the actual process of moving the 1800 MHz spectrum to the successful bidder will most likely take between 18 and 24 months.

A spokesperson said engineers were already preparing for the technical aspects of the sale, so it should not miss the September deadline. “There is certainly interest and we are working through the process right now,” the spokesperson said. “We’ve got a job to determine who it should go to and how we should do it.”

Everything Everywhere is planning to use its 1800MHz for 4G services later this year, but is awaiting Ofcom approval. Other providers, most notably Vodafone, have complained that Ofcom provisionally said it was willing to let Everything Everywhere rollout 4G services far in advance of others.

Widespread 4G coverage is not expected until 2017, although other vendors should be able to get some services out by 2015. Meanwhile, a host of other nations already have 4G, including the US and Australia.

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Thomas Brewster

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

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