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Ofcoms 2nd Mobile Broadband Spectrum Swap Consultation

Posted: 13th Feb, 2009 By: MarkJ
Ofcom has launched a second consultation (here) on the principal of using older 2G (900MHz) radio spectrum for delivery of faster Mobile Broadband (3G) services over wider coverage. The move follows yesterday’s meeting (here) between all of the UK's major mobile phone operators and the government’s communications minister, Lord Carter.

The result appears to have been a new proposal, which would see Vodafone and O2 being required to give up 10MHz of spectrum in total (made up of 2 x 5 MHz) from their 900MHz licenses. It's believed that the move would cost both operators between £60m to £90m.

This wireless spectrum would then be released to the market through an auction held by Ofcom, with the new owners using it to deploy 3G based Mobile Broadband services. Ofcom estimates that the benefits of liberalisation to UK citizens and consumers could be worth up to £5 billion.

Ofcom would aim to auction the released spectrum in summer 2010 and the licences would be made tradable to ensure the most efficient use. Interestingly the idea of exchanging some of the 1800MHz band held by Orange and T-Mobile for O2 and Vodafone's 900MHz appears to have been dropped.
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