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Ofcom UK Sets Out Plan for Mobile Broadband Spectrum Trading Between Operators

Posted: 02nd Feb, 2011 By: MarkJ
mobile broadband logoofcom uk mobile broadband spectrumThe communications regulator, Ofcom UK, has today launched two new consultations into proposals that will allow Mobile Network Operators (MNO) to trade wireless network licences in the 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2100MHz (radio frequency) spectrum bands.

Ofcom claims that there are 80 million mobiles in the UK and more than £12.8 million of these are Smartphone's, used by people to access the internet via Mobile Broadband. The regulator believes that this is placing big demands on mobile spectrum.

Ofcom's CEO, Ed Richards, said:

"This is an important milestone in the modernisation of spectrum management in the UK. It comes in response to the fast pace of change and innovation taking place in the mobile communications sector, which is placing increased demands on spectrum. One important way of meeting this demand is making the acquisition of spectrum as flexible as possible."

The regulator claims that MNO's, such as Three (3) UK, with a greater need for spectrum will now be able trade it with their rivals. Apparently this added flexibility will help operators respond more quickly to the increasing demands being placed upon their networks.

The more spectrum an operator holds, the more telephone calls and internet (Mobile Broadband) traffic it can carry (capacity allowing). However, the level of demand and amounts of spectrum held varies between operators. Ofcom hopes that trading, a December 2010 directive of the UK government, will result in more efficient use of existing spectrum.

It remains to be seen whether any of this will actually happen or help end-users to get a better service, although it is definitely an important and necessary step. The two related consultations will run until 17th March 2011.
1. Notice of proposals to make 900 MHz, 1800 MHz & 2100 MHz public wireless network licences tradable
http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/trading-900-1800-2100/

2. 2100-MHz-Third-Generation-Mobile-Licences
http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/2100-MHz-Third-Generation-Mobile/
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