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Ofcom UK Make it Easier for Ships to Support 3G and 4G Mobile

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017 (1:05 pm) - Score 679

The UK telecoms regulator, Ofcom, has proposed to make it easier for ships to support on-board use of Mobile devices (e.g. handsets and tablets), without the need for a wireless telegraphy licence, in the 3G and 4G radio spectrum bands.

At present it’s already possible to offer Mobile communication services on board vessels (MCV), although it’s only allowed in the 900MHz and 1800MHz frequency bands by using the old 2G Global System for Mobile communication (GSM) technology.

Ofcom now intends to extend this to include 3G (UMTS) Mobile services operating in the 2100MHz band and 4G (LTE) services in the 1800MHz and 2.6GHz band, which according to the European Commission must be implemented by August 2017.

However the caveat is that upgraded systems will need to comply with some new technical requirements, which are necessary to ensure that MCV services do not generate any harmful interference to land based networks. The setup must also prevent connection to MCV systems when connection to land based mobile networks is possible.

The regulator’s consultation will run until 3rd July 2017 and we fully expect it to be formally adopted before the deadline. A similar change was recently approved for aircraft (here).

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