Ofcom outlines Spectrum Management Strategy

UK regulator Ofcom has outlined its approach for managing wireless spectrum over the next decade. The regulator’s Spectrum Management Strategy is part of the Government’s plan to double the amount of money it raises annually from spectrum services to £100bn by 2025.

Ofcom said that in devising its strategy it examined the potential for sharing spectrum across a wide range of sectors. It has set out to explore how different services can coexist using the same spectrum.

The regulator said it has identified three areas where it believes spectrum sharing could be introduced; for indoor use, outdoor use – by increasing the accessibility of spectrum to small cells – and for the internet of things, a sector in which Ofcom expects to see hundreds of millions of devices given wireless connectivity by the end of the decade.

Ofcom has also specified six areas of priority that it intends to focus on relating to spectrum use:

  • It plans to monitor the evolving demand for mobile data to assess the impact it could have on other users of spectrum, examine the case for freeing up more spectrum for mobile data, support improvements in mobile coverage and monitor developments in 5G technology.
  • It will look at spectrum currently used for TV services and explore ways to free up 700MHz spectrum for mobile broadband use sometime after 2018, without affecting digital terrestrial TV services.
  • It will support the Government in its aims to release 500MHz spectrum from the public sector, starting with the release of 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz spectrum currently held by the Ministry of Defence.
  • It intends to enable licence exempt access to the 870MHz to 915MHz band to ensure that the UK is among the first to release spectrum that can support M2M communications.
  • It will seek to work with events firms and broadcasters to understand their spectrum requirements for wireless microphones and cameras and with emergency services to assess how to use spectrum to better manage their needs in the long term.
  • And it will also publish an interactive spectrum map to easy access to details on how different frequencies are used in the UK; and it also intends to lead discussions on spectrum issues on an international scale.

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