British telecom regulator Ofcom has announced plans to make additional spectrum available for mobile broadband services, while ‘securing the future of digital terrestrial TV’. Under the watchdog’s plans, it has said it will allow mobile network operators to deliver mobile broadband services over the 700MHz band, with it planning to do so by the beginning of 2022 at the latest, and ‘possibly up to two years earlier’.
Claiming that this decision represented a ‘significant step’ in addressing the nation’s requirements for mobile data spectrum, this follows on from a separate announcement earlier this month in which Ofcom outlined plans to auction frequencies in the 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz bands in late-2015/early-2016. As reported by CommsUpdate, under the plans an auction for a total of 190MHz of spectrum in the two aforementioned bands will be carried out – equivalent to around three-quarters of the frequencies released by the UK authorities in a 2013 auction.
As a result of both its plans for the 700MHz band and 2.3GHz/3.4GHz auctions, Ofcom has said it expects consumers and businesses to benefit from faster and cheaper mobile data services, while viewers will be able to continue enjoying the free-to-view TV services they value without another ‘switchover’.
Commenting on the matter, Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards noted: ‘This is a crucial next step in the development of the UK’s communications infrastructure. This decision ensures that we are making the raw materials available with which investors and companies can build the services which will support the digital economy of the future … More spectrum will be available for mobile broadband where demand is especially high, but the UK will retain a competitive terrestrial television platform as well.’