TELECOMS operators EE and Three have lost separate High Court cases over caps on mobile spectrum controls.

Both companies took issue with regulator Ofcom's plans to cap the amount of mobile spectrum that any operator can own at 37 per cent.

EE had challenged the proposals for being too rigid, with Three concerned the allowance was too generous.

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EE, which is Darlington’s largest private employer, holds 45 per cent of all usable mobile spectrum, with Three owning around 12 per cent.

However, he High Court said Ofcom had engaged in a “detailed predictive analysis of how the market would work in the future, setting restrictive caps which were not disproportionate to EE”.

The move is expected to open the door for long-awaited 4G and 5G auctions.

However, EE will not be forced to divest any part of its mobile spectrum, as the regulator expects its market share will be diluted over time as new spectrum is auctioned in the coming years.

But Three is seeking permission to appeal against the ruling.

The Northern Echo last month revealed EE will bring more than 250 roles to its sprawling Darlington call centre hub next year.

The move will strengthen the mobile phone operator’s position as the town’s largest private employer, with nearly 3,000 staff answering customer queries from offices in the town.