Vodafone has used its time at the Mobile World Congress to plead for BT to be broken up by Ofcom.
The regulator has carried out a review of the telecoms sector and is expected to publish its findings this week. Vittorio Colao, chief executive of Vodafone, has made the final push for the split at the event as he believes that BT is making ‘extra profits’ from the Openreach section of the company.
The review by Ofcom, carried out once every 10 years, has focussed on the future of Openreach. The current model, which allows rivals to use the network set up by BT, has come under a great deal of criticism in recent months. Mr Colao has said that the model was intended to be neutral and separate from the main part of BT, but that the company has been making additional revenue from it.
BT’s rivals joined forces in order to try to encourage Ofcom to separate Openreach from BT. Sky and Talk Talk also joined the campaign. Issues that have been raised include the network installer’s record on installations and repairs, as well as the issue of not planning to use fibre-optic links to replace copper wires.
Vodafone is looking to develop its holding on residential and business broadband services by using the infrastructure set up by BT. In other countries, Vodafone has invested heavily in its own networks.
However, despite the appeals, it seems likely that Ofcom will not force a break-up but will recommend new controls and regulations instead.