BT Group’s (LON:BT.A) mobile network EE is planning legal action against the UK telecoms regulator, the Financial Times has reported. The move is related to Ofcom’s decision to limit the amount of mobile airwaves any one company could own.
BT’s share price has been little changed in London this morning, having inched 0.03 percent higher to 292.60p as of 08:41 BST, slightly outperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index having slipped into the red and currently standing 0.34 percent lower at 7,299.00 points. The group’s shares have lost more than a quarter of their value over the past year, and are down by more than a fifth in the year-to-date.
The FT reported yesterday that BT’s EE unit would threaten Ofcom with a High Court challenge if it does not reverse its decision to stop mobile phone companies from owning more than 37 percent of usable spectrum by 2020. EE owns 43 percent of available spectrum, while rival Vodafone (LON:VOD) holds 30 percent. Rival Three, which owns 15 percent available spectrum, meanwhile has complained that a proposed cap was not high enough.
BT’s unit argues that it does not dominate the market for all services, and has accepted the regulator’s cap for 4G. It believes that it should be allowed to participate freely in the auction for the most up-to-date 5G spectrum.
Ofcom’s spectrum limit plans add to challenges faced by BT which is also under pressure to improve performance at its network division Openreach. The FTSE 100 group also suffered an accounting scandal at its Italian division earlier this year, which has prompted a top 20 investor to urge the company to line up a replacement for its chief executive Gavin Patterson.