Ofcom offers new frequencies

14 Jan 2005

The UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has begun a consultation process on opening up twelve bands of spectrum bands over the next four years, with three further batches of frequencies also under consideration. The regulator is also calling for comments on its proposals to introduce mobile spectrum trading and liberalisation in 2007. The closing date for responses is 24 March.

While some of the proposed changes concern only small bands of spectrum of limited use to telcos, others such as the 190MHz of frequencies in the 2500MHz-2690MHz band would be a significant addition to existing 3G or broadband wireless spectrum. The five current 3G licensees, Orange, T-Mobile, Vodafone, Hutchison and O2, hold a total of 140MHz of frequencies between them and they are unhappy that so much next-generation spectrum could be available so soon after they had to pay around GBP4 million each for their own concessions. Ofcom says the new spectrum will not be sold off under a similar auction process as that used in the original 3G sale in 2000 and it will not dictate to operators how they must use the frequencies.

United Kingdom