Ofcom clears path for EE emergency service network

11 Jan 2017

British telecoms watchdog Ofcom has approved two licence variation requests from wireless provider EE (now part of BT Group), in support of the operator’s Emergency Services Network (ESN). EE was awarded a contract to provide ESN services by the Home Office in 2015, one aspect of which will allow the temporary extension of mobile coverage for occasions when the emergency services are responding to an incident in an unserved or poorly served area. To that end, certain emergency vehicles will be fitted with nomadic base stations – dubbed ESN Gateways – that will be deployed within the cellco’s normal coverage area to boost the signal to cover the incident area. The system will use LTE technology, but the 1900MHz-band frequencies set aside for the platform are currently restricted to use with UMTS technology. Ofcom’s approval allows EE to use its 1899.9MHz-1909.9MHz spectrum allocation for the temporary LTE networks set up by the ESN Gateways. Meanwhile, the ESN Gateways will use EE’s main network for backhaul, and the second licence variation request approved by the regulator will allow the ESN Gateways to transmit at a higher power than usually permitted. The nomadic base stations are now allowed to transmit at a power of 31dBm in the uplink frequencies 837MHz-842MHz and 1736.7MHz-1781.7MHz.

United Kingdom, BT Group (incl. Openreach), EE, Ofcom