Ofcom approves variation of UK Broadband’s spectrum

18 Dec 2018

British telecoms regulator Ofcom has issued a statement confirming it has approved the variation of altnet UK Broadband’s 3.6GHz spectrum licence. Ofcom had previously launched a consultation into an application by UK Broadband (Relish) to amend its concession in July 2018, after the operator requested a ‘number of changes’ to this licence concerning the lower frequency block, including: shifting it down by 5MHz, surrendering its rights to use 4MHz of spectrum in that block, and changing the applicable technical conditions.

In issuing its final ruling on the matter, Ofcom said: ‘Having considered the comments made by stakeholders, we have decided, in light of our relevant spectrum management functions and statutory duties, to grant the variation. We consider that granting the variation meets our duties to further the interests of citizens and consumers, to secure optimal use of the spectrum, to promote competition, and to promote the efficient management and use of the spectrum.’

Specifically, Ofcom has suggested that granting the request will simplify the holdings in the 3.6GHz-3.8GHz band, while also increasing the amount of contiguous spectrum that it can make available as part of its planned award of frequencies in the band by 10MHz. The regulator further noted that, as a result of the licence variation Three UK, which acquired UK Broadband last year, will hold 100MHz of contiguous spectrum in the 3.6GHz band, which it suggested would provide the cellco with a ‘small to moderate incremental increase in capacity’, which should allow it to offer higher average speeds in heavily loaded cells.