The UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced that it is preparing to release around 200MHz of radio spectrum to communications regulator Ofcom, with a view to the frequencies being made available for commercial use. While the ministry had initially planned to auction some of its radio spectrum in what would have been the first direct sale of its kind by a government department, Ofcom will now take over the sale arrangements, with the MoD noting that the watchdog has ‘significant experience and expertise in this area and is well positioned to manage the process’. As such, Ofcom will oversee the release of a total of 190MHz of spectrum, 40MHz of which is in the 2.3GHz band, with a further 150MHz above 3.4GHz; all of the frequencies are suitable for mobile broadband uses. In the wake of the announcement the regulator has confirmed it will publish a document seeking expressions of interest from potential users of this spectrum ‘shortly’.
Commenting on the development, the Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Philip Dunne, said: ‘Ofcom are experienced in managing radio spectrum sales. I am confident they will oversee a competitive and fair process. Freeing up this spectrum will be good for business and good for consumers. It is a valuable step in driving growth and building a stronger economy. The MOD spectrum to be released will have no impact on national security or the operational effectiveness of the UK’s Armed Forces.’