Mobile Phones

Culture Media and Sport written question – answered on 16th May 2012.

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Photo of John Mann John Mann Labour, Bassetlaw

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport

(1) with reference to the answer to my right hon. Friend, the Member for Cardiff South and Penarth (Alun Michael) of 22 March 2012, Official Report, column 791W, on mobile phones: rural areas, what discussions he has had with rural campaign and consumer groups on Ofcom's proposal not to ensure all four mobile network operators have access to sub 1GHz spectrum;

(2) what estimate he has made of the cost to the consumer of lack of choice of mobile network operators and tariff because mobile network operators do not have access to the sub 1GHz spectrum necessary to provide coverage in hard to serve areas.

Photo of Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

I have made no assessment of these issues.

The matter raised is an operational one for the independent regulator, the Office of Communications (Ofcom). Ofcom's second consultation on the combined auction of 800 MHz and 2600 MHz spectrum closed on 22 March. In that consultation, Ofcom set out its refined analysis of the relative technical capabilities of spectrum at different frequencies and the impact on competition of holding sub 1 GHz spectrum. Ofcom has received over 40 responses to this consultation which it is currently analysing. They intend to decide on these issues and publish a statement in July.

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