Mobile firm 3 has warned that it may begin running out of capacity in UK urban areas by the end of next year if spectrum auctions do not go ahead.
Networks increasingly face congestion as the demand for data soars. Auctions to free up space for next generation mobile services are earmarked for mid-2012 although Three said that the timetable was “already slipping”.
It said it was vital the firm got its fair share of new spectrum. It also warned that its rivals may attempt to delay the process.
“There is a huge financial incentive for rival operators to delay the auction. We are worried that the other three will attempt to squeeze us out of the market,” said Three chief executive David Dyson.
Ofcom is due to re-evaluate the fees operators pay for 2G spectrum once the auction is complete.