The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced that, as part of government plans to release some 500MHz of spectrum below 5GHz by 2020, it intends to open up a number of military frequency bands for sharing with public and private sector users. The ministry noted that these frequencies are in addition to blocks of spectrum in the 2310MHz-2400MHz and 3410MHz-3600MHz ranges that it has previously announced plans to take to market in 2013/14 and 2015/16 respectively. The MoD has revealed that it has identified 3500MHz-3580MHz for ‘short term sharing opportunities’ from 3 November 2011, while additional spectrum at 3410MHz-3480MHz may also be made available for sharing in 2012/13. It has, however, noted that any licence granted for frequency sharing for these blocks will not be extended beyond March 2015, while it also pointed to the fact that, due to its support for the London 2012 Olympics, sharing of spectrum in Olympic areas would be unlikely until October 2012. Other bands understood to be under consideration for sharing on a limited basis are: 870MHz-872MHz / 915MHz-917MHz, 1427MHz-1452MHz, 2025MHz-2070MHz, 4800MHz-4900 MHz, 10MHz-10.125GHz.
The MoD, in a statement regarding the matter, has called on interested parties to register by 16 December 2011, and has said that ‘all sharing requests will be considered and where appropriate, technical assessments will be conducted to ascertain whether sharing is possible’. Following this, the ministry notes that subject to successfully reaching an agreement regarding the commercial terms and conditions and regulatory constraints for the spectrum, it will then call on telecoms regulator Ofcom to initiate the process to grant a Wireless Telegraphy Act licence to the customer to enable them to use the frequencies.