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O2, Three and Vodafone have warned that their 5G plans could be put in jeopardy by a recent decision from Ofcom.

Last year, the telecoms regulator opted not to impose duct and pole access on Openreach for the provision of leased lines to businesses.

However, O2, Three and Vodafone believe this lack of access means they will not be able to deploy ultrafast 5G mobile services, reports.

The mobile operators warned that without this access, it will be difficult to feed 5G access points, base stations or masts with adequate capacity to support the service.

A Three spokesperson commented: "There is no provision for opening up the duct and pole network for operators who wish to invest mainly in mobile backhaul and fixed wireless access. 

"This is an oversight by the regulator which must be remedied."

O2, meanwhile, pointed out that Ofcom has repeatedly said the risk of "regulatory failure" is the main reason why "it considers it inappropriate to put in place an unconstrained Physical Infrastructure Access obligation.

However, the company said Ofcom has not provided any detail as to why it believes this to be the case.

Vodafone added that a model along the lines it is proposing is already being used in countries such as Spain, Portugal and France.

Commenting on the dispute, an Openreach spokesperson told that it believes Ofcom will consider duct and pole access for the provision of leased lines in the next Business Connectivity Market Review. 

"We expect Ofcom to start work on this soon," the representative said.


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