British telecoms regulator Ofcom has published a framework which it will apply to future spectrum authorisation decisions in order to assess spectrum sharing opportunities. The watchdog claims that the new framework, which follows a consultation launched back in July 2015, ‘reflects the need to consider carefully the circumstances of each potential opportunity, covering its costs and benefits’.
The framework consists of three key elements to help identify potential sharing opportunities in particular bands, those being: characteristics of use for both incumbent and prospective users that inform an initial view of the potential for sharing and what tools may be relevant; barriers that may limit the extent of current or future sharing, despite the liberalisation of licences and existing market tools such as trading or leasing; and regulatory tools and market and technology enablers that match the characteristics of use and barriers to facilitate new and/or more intense sharing.
Ofcom has also invited stakeholder comments on the first new opportunity for spectrum sharing in the 3.8GHz-4.2GHz band, and a consultation on this matter is due to run until 9 June 2016. According to Ofcom, its preliminary analysis indicates that the band in question ‘is suitable for more intensive sharing, while taking into account incumbent services’.