Insights Ofcom consults on enabling mmWave spectrum for new uses and on design of auction and conditions for citywide licences to use mmWave spectrum


Ofcom has confirmed that it will make millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum across the 26 GHz and 40 GHz bands available for new mobile technology, including 5G services.

Ofcom says that this could deliver significant benefits by enabling large wireless data capacity and speeds. It can be used to improve mobile services and deliver innovative new services across the UK and will be particularly beneficial in locations and venues with a lot of mobile users, such as train stations, football stadiums and concerts, where demands on current networks mean mobile data speeds can be sluggish.

As well as mobile services, mmWave spectrum could, in future, also support innovative wireless applications requiring large amounts of data, very high speeds, or both. Early indications suggest this could include applications such as virtual reality, factory automation, and intelligent transport systems, such as driverless cars.

Ofcom expects that new uses of mmWave spectrum will be mostly concentrated in areas with high levels of data traffic such as towns and cities. Ofcom will award citywide licences to use mmWave spectrum by auction and assign licenses for more localised licences on a first come, first served basis, using its Shared Access licensing framework.

Ofcom is consulting on proposals for the design of the auction for citywide licences, the licence conditions for citywide and local mmWave licences, and how to coordinate users of this spectrum. The deadline for responses to the consultation is 22 May 2023. For more information, click here.