Ofcom reveals more details about 5G plans

By:
James Pearce
Published on:

UK regulator identifies initial spectrum bands that next-gen wireless technology is expected to operate in

British regulator Ofcom has begun preparations to release spectrum in preparation for future mobile services, including 5G.

In a report, entitled “Update on 5G spectrum in the UK”, Ofcom said it is preparing to make sufficient spectrum available to enable 5G services.

The regulator said one of its key objectives is to ensure “that spectrum is made available in the most appropriate and timely way to enable investments, innovation and competition in the development of 5G services to benefit consumers and businesses”.

The regulator has worked closely with other European authorities to identify 700MHz, 3.4-3.8GHz, and 24.25-27.5GHz as bands that will enable 5G. However, in its latest report, Ofcom said it remains committed to explore additional bands on top of those identified.

It its report, Ofcom said it expects to award licenses for the 700MHz band in 2018/19, while it expects to release results of a consultation into the 3.4-3.8GHz band later this year.

Other bands identified for potential use in the UK that Ofcom listed were: 24.25-27.5 GHz, 31.8-33.4 GHz, 37-40.5 GHz, 40.5-42.5 GHz, 42.5-43.5 GHz, 45.5-47 GHz, 47-47.2 GHz, 47.2-50.2 GHz, 50.4-52.6 GHz, 66-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz. Ofcom pledged to publish a roadmap by the middle of this year for these bands.

Ofcom said: “For an increasing number of UK consumers and businesses, mobile connectivity is now an everyday necessity. Our desire to get online wherever we are – and at ever faster speeds – has also helped fuel an explosion in mobile data.

“5G is the next generation of mobile technologies and is being designed to provide greater capacity for wireless networks, offer greater reliability, and deliver extremely fast data speeds, enabling innovative new services across different industry sectors. The first wave of commercial products is expected to be available in 2020. However, initial pre-commercial deployments are already expected to start from 2018.”