Ofcom releases UK spectrum plan for the next ten years

UK telecoms watchdog Ofcom has published a spectrum-management plan which sets out a strategy for the country’s wireless infrastructure for the next ten years.

The Spectrum Management Strategy complements the government’s wider plan to double the value of UK’s spectrum services to £100bn per year by 2025.

The plan looks at developing new ways of spectrum sharing which allow radio broadcasts to co-exist within the same part of the spectrum. Ofcom is running trials on “white-space” technology, which is designed to minimise interference.

“As we move to an increasingly digital infrastructure across our economy, it is wireless services which offer some of the most exciting opportunities for growth and innovation,” says Ed Richards, CEO of Ofcom. “Our spectrum management strategy is aimed at ensuring the regulatory approach helps the UK take as many of these opportunities as possible.

As well as outlining its support for improving mobile coverage and developing 5G technology, Ofcom describes how it will support the government’s plans to release 500MHz of spectrum from the public sector.

Auctions and licence changes are planned in the UK in order to free up spectrum in the 2.3GHz, 2.7GHz, 3.4GHz and 3.6GHz bands for mobile broadband. The plan includes freeing spectrum in the 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz bands held by the Ministry of Defence as early as 2015.

The study also outlines plans to move Digital Terrestrial TV (DTTV) services out of the 700MHz band into 600MHz after 2018, to open the frequency band up to mobile broadband services.

At the same time, Ofcom also published an interactive spectrum map which shows how different frequencies are used in the UK.

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