Ofcom mulling options on opening 700MHz for mobile broadband

2 Apr 2012

British telecoms regulator Ofcom is examining the possibility of refarming spectrum in the 700MHz for use by operators to offer mobile broadband services. In launching a consultation regarding potential strategies for UHF bands IV and V the watchdog has said that the frequency, which is presently utilised for Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) services, could be reused with a view to countering growing demand for mobile broadband traffic. In its consultation document, Ofcom notes that additional lower frequency mobile broadband spectrum in the 700MHz band could be particularly valuable, in part as the lower frequency spectrum can often deliver better quality of service, particularly indoors. Further, Ofcom also notes that the 700MHz band ‘represents the most attractive option for providing additional lower frequency spectrum … because there is now global momentum behind it being harmonised for mobile broadband.’ The regulator has highlighted the US in particular as currently using the band for mobile broadband LTE services, while it points to Asia, Australia and New Zealand as among those planning to use the 700MHz band for LTE, adding that India, as well as a number of other countries, are exploring a similar approach. Should Ofcom opt to open up the 700MHz band for mobile broadband, it has suggested, however, that it would not be a swift process. In order to achieve such a goal it has pointed out that it would require a new international frequency co-ordination agreement. With such an agreement likely to take several years to complete, depending on the position adopted by other European countries, Ofcom has said that it sees 2018 as the earliest date that such a deal might be reached.

United Kingdom, Ofcom