UK’s Ofcom expects mmWave spectrum consultation comments by May 22

Ofcom, the United Kingdom’s telecom regulator, has stated that it will make available millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum in the 26 GHz and 40 GHz bands for new mobile technologies, such as 5G services.

The regulator stated in a press statement that the awarding of this new spectrum might provide substantial benefits by enabling increased wireless data capacity and transfer rates. It can be used to enhance mobile services and bring innovative new services throughout the United Kingdom, according to Ofcom.

Ofcom added that the new spectrum will enable mobile operators to enhance mobile services in locations and venues with a high concentration of mobile users, such as train stations, sports stadiums, and concerts.

“As well as mobile services, mmWave spectrum could, in future, also support innovative wireless applications requiring large amounts of data, very high speeds, or both. Early indications suggest this could include applications such as virtual reality, factory automation, and intelligent transport systems such as driverless cars. We expect that new uses of mmWave spectrum will be mostly concentrated in areas with high levels of data traffic such as towns and cities. Ofcom will award citywide licenses to use mmWave spectrum by auction and assign licenses for more localized licenses on a first come, first served basis, using our Shared Access licensing framework.”


Ofcom stated that it is now conducting a consultation process regarding proposals for the design of the auction for citywide licenses, license conditions for citywide and local mmWave licenses, and how it would coordinate spectrum users.

By May 22, Ofcom expects to have received replies to the consultation.

The previous consultation on mmWave spectrum conducted by Ofcom concluded in July 2022. The FCC stated at the time that it expected to make this spectrum available to operators in 2024.

The United Kingdom concluded its most recent 5G spectrum auction in May 2021, raising £ 1.35 billion (now $1.64 billion).

EE obtained 210 megahertz of paired frequency spectrum in the 700 MHz band for a cost of £280 million; 20 megahertz of extra downlink spectrum in the 700 MHz band for a cost of £4 million; and 40 megahertz in the 3.6-3.8 GHz band for a cost of £168 million.

Three UK paid £280 million for 210 megahertz of paired frequency spectrum in the 700 MHz band, whilst O2 paid £280 million for 210 megahertz of paired frequency spectrum in the 700 MHz band and £168 million for 40 megahertz in the 3.6-3.8 GHz range.

Meanwhile, Vodafone purchased 40 megahertz in the 3.6-3.8 GHz spectrum for £176,4 million.

In 2019, operators in the United Kingdom also acquired spectrum for the supply of 5G services. Vodafone paid £378 million for 50 megahertz of spectrum in the 3,4GHz band. EE was awarded 40 megahertz for £303 million. Three paid £151,3 million for 20 megahertz of 3.4 GHz spectrum, whereas O2 paid £318 million for 40 megahertz.

These frequencies allowed the carriers to begin 5G services in 2019, making the United Kingdom one of the most advanced 5G markets in Europe.

Source: RCR Wireless

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