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UK Mobile Operators Cleared for 3G and 4G Power Boost at 1800MHz

Friday, Aug 29th, 2014 (12:43 pm) - Score 1,727

As expected the national UK telecoms regulator has today allowed O2, Three UK, EE and Vodafone to improve the coverage and capacity of their 3G (UMTS) and 4G (LTE + WiMAX) based Mobile Broadband networks by boosting the maximum permissible base station transmit power in the 1800MHz radio spectrum band by +3dB.

The decision follows a consultation that was started in March 2014, following a request by all of the major mobile operators (here). Ofcom received five responses (four from the mobile operators) to its consultation and only one of those, submitted by the Low Power Radio Association, objected to granting the variation over concern for radio microphone use in the adjacent frequency band.

Ofcom concluded that the 3dB boost would not “meaningfully increase the risk of harmful interference to adjacent users” and therefore decided to grant the variation.

Ofcoms Statement

We have considered the extent to which varying the licences would further the interests of consumers, and/or give rise to a material risk of distortion of competition which could be to the detriment of consumers. We consider that granting the requested variations has the potential to provide benefits for consumers through improved mobile coverage and/or capacity, deeper in-building penetration and greater network engineering flexibility. We have not found any material risk of a distortion of competition to the detriment of consumers.

We have also considered the potential impact on spectrum management, and in particular, whether an increase in the maximum permitted power would be consistent with the minimum restrictions necessary to provide adequate protection against harmful interference to users in the same band or adjacent to the 1800 MHz band. We have concluded that there is unlikely to be a significant change in the existing interference environment experienced by current radio services operating in the same band or adjacent to the 1800 MHz licensees if we allow a 3 dB power increase.”

Licences for use of the 1800 MHz band are held by:

O2: 1805.1 to 1810.9MHz
Vodafone: 1810.9 to 1816.7MHz
Three UK: 1816.7 to 1826.7MHz (plus 1826.7-1831.7 from October 2015)
EE: 1831.7 to 1876.7MHz (plus 1826.7-1831.7 until September 2015)

Outcome of the 3dB boost:

• 65dBm per carrier for UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System).
• 65dBm per 5MHz for LTE (Long Term Evolution) and WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access).

The adjustment represents a useful change but consumers shouldn’t be expecting miracles. In the grander scheme of things it’s only a small change and you’re unlikely to notice a big difference in service quality as a result.

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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