Ofcom plans for 5G in the UK

19 November 2012 | Kavit Majithia


UK regulator Ofcom is reportedly already planning for 5G mobile networks, just a week after announcing the date for its 4G auction.

With mobile data demands continuously growing, the regulator is planning to utilise frequencies in the 700MHz band in the near future to ensure there is sufficient capacity on networks.

Ofcom says mobile data usage could increase by as much as 80 times between 2012 and 2030, with consumption doubling in the UK between 2011 and 2012.

700MHz is presently used for digital terrestrial TV, but Ofcom are stating the spectrum can be used in Europe without the need for TV switchover.

The regulator has just freed up 800MHz spectrum, which was previously used for analog TV, for the impending 4G auction.

“Within the coming months we will hold the UK’s largest-ever auction of mobile spectrum for 4G,” said Ed Richards, Ofcom chief executive. “However that may not be enough to meet consumers’ future data demands, which is why we are making significant efforts to prepare to go beyond 4G.”

Richards’ added that Ofcom’s plans are designed to avoid a “capacity crunch”, and ensure that UK’s mobile infrastructure can support the growth in consumer demand for data.

The BBC reported last week that a team of UK researchers were also working to commercialise a process that boosts the amount of data handled by present fibre optic capabilities, and reported that they have already achieved an increase of 20Gbps from present levels.