August 7, 2017
Ofcom has confirmed its intention to make the 3.6GHz to 3.8GHz band available for mobile use as soon as practicable.
This band has been identified by the UK and EU as part of the primary band for the rollout of 5G services. At present, the band is used by satellite earth stations for space-to-earth reception and point-to-point fixed links. UK Broadband provides wireless broadband services using part of the band.
The documents published also set out Ofcom’s proposed approach to existing users of the band. Ofcom proposes to remove current authorisations for fixed links, and no longer take registered satellite earth stations with a receive component in the 3.6GHz to 3.8GHz band into account for frequency management purposes, after an appropriate period of notice.
Ofcom says that it’s proposed approach would enable future mobile services in the 3.6GHz to 3.8GHz band to be deployed in many areas from around 2020, and nationwide by 2022.
Ofcom says that, as a result of the geographic concentration of existing users, there are many areas in which these frequencies could be used immediately, for trials and pre-commercial deployments. Ofcom can make spectrum available to facilitate trials and pre-commercial deployments, including 5G, to support innovation in the UK.
Ofcom says that it is minded to award this spectrum in 2019, combined with 700MHz spectrum. It will consult on proposals for the future award in due course. The consultation closes on 22 September 2017. To access the statement and consultation, click here.