Ofcom brings forward 700MHz spectrum release

By:
James Pearce
Published on:

UK regulator says band will be repurposed by 2020 - 18 months sooner than originally announced

Ofcom has announced that the 700MHz spectrum band currently used for Digital Terrestrial TV services will be repurposed for mobile broadband by Q2 2020.

This means that the UK regulator has bumped forward its plans to repurpose the spectrum by around 18 months, as demand for mobile usage grows.

By bringing the redistribution of spectrum forward, Ofcom hopes to benefit the UK economy to the tune of around £14-15 million.

Ofcom is in the process of gradually migrating 600MHz services which include TV and wireless microphones over to mobile over a three year period.

The 20MHz of centre gap spectrum will also be allocated for mobile data, although tis will be specifically directed towards mobile downlink services. The rest of the available service will be made available for 4G mobile services.

According to a statement on its website, Ofcom will begin in forming PMSE users that they will not have access to the 700MHz band from 1 May 2020.

The statement said: “First, we have taken a spectrum management decision that we will work to accelerate the programme by 18 months and release the 700MHz band in Q2 2020.

“Second, we have decided that 20MHz of spectrum in the part of the 700MHz band known as the centre gap should be allocated for use by mobile data (specifically mobile downlink). Linked to this, we have also decided to allow the interim multiplexes to continue operating in this spectrum until at least 1 May 2020, or until mobile downlink services in this spectrum are deployed.”