LONDON (Reuters) - Four of Britain's main mobile operators have agreed to refrain from taking any potential legal action against the industry regulator at a time when they are trying to roll out 4G services, the Financial Times reported.
Everything Everywhere (EE), Vodafone <VOD.L>, Hutchison Whampoa's <0013.HK> Three and Telefonica's <TEF.MC> O2 have agreed to stall any legal action against Ofcom for allowing EE to launch 4G phones on its network while its rivals wait to buy new licenses in the next auction of frequencies.
Under their agreement, EE, a joint venture between France Telecom's <FTE.PA> Orange and Deutsche Telekom's <DTEGn.DE> T-Mobile, will not roll out 4G services in the month from last Monday while talks among the operators are being held.
"The industry <would have got> to a point of mutual destruction if people started suing," the FT said, citing one person familiar with the talks. "This is a cooling-off period where no one can launch or litigate and where the industry can work out a collective way forward."
The British government last week called in the chief executives of the four UK mobile groups to find an agreement that would stop the industry from launching damaging litigation to hold up the roll out of 4G services, the FT said.
(Reporting by Stephen Mangan)