British telecoms regulator Ofcom has published a report outlining its preparations for the release of spectrum suitable for future mobile services, including 5G. In the document, entitled ‘Update on 5G Spectrum in the UK’, the watchdog said it already has plans in place to make the 700MHz band available for mobile including 5G, and expects to offer frequencies in 2018/19. For any concessions it does issue, Ofcom has said it will seek to include a coverage obligation as one of the conditions of using this spectrum.
The regulator is also ‘currently undertaking work’ relating to the 3.4GHz-3.6GHz and the 3.6GHz-3.8GHz bands, and with regards to the former it noted that 150MHz of spectrum in this range (3410MHz-3480MHz and 3500MHz-3580MHz) has been cleared and released by the public sector and is due to be auctioned later this year. Meanwhile, having issued a consultation proposing to make the remaining 116MHz within the 3.6GHz-3.8GHz band available for mobile services in October last year, it is now reviewing responses to this, and plans to issue a further publication in the first half of 2017.
Finally, with Ofcom saying it fully supports the Radio Spectrum Policy Group’s (RSPG’s) identification of 26GHz as a ‘pioneer band’ for 5G in Europe, it said it has started a programme of work to look at how the band can be made available for 5G in the UK, taking into account existing users and their requirements, and it intends to publish a consultation on this ‘shortly’.