3UK loses number portability legal battle

Having conducted a high-profile legal campaign against the U.K.'s four major mobile operators over their market dominance, 3UK now faces a £1 million legal bill following the case being dismissed. The company had attempted to force O2, Vodafone, T-Mobile and Orange to hand over hundreds of thousands of documents stretching back over four years relating to their claimed reluctance to provide timely number portability details.

The case, had it gone ahead, would have been the largest of its type and could have resulted in the four operators being hit with a £250 million competition claim from 3UK. However, the judge ruled that 3UK's claim was unfocused and the scale of the requested disclosure was too large. The company has yet to decide whether to press ahead and issue a claim.

3UK maintained that the four networks were keen to change and speed up the number portability system until it entered the market in 2004, at which point they tried to block changes in order to protect their market share.

On a more positive note, 3UK has announced its first MVNO agreement with fixed-line provider Gamma Telecom to boost its reach into the SME market. The company said it was in discussions with other potential MVNO partners, both business and consumer, and is looking to sign up to three more by the end of the year.

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