One of Ofcom’s proposals in a raft of topics in a consultation document dealing with spectrum allocation and trading is that, “in general, there should be no restriction on the ability to use spectrum for mobile phone services other than 3G.”
This means that the regulator is proposing opening up several frequency bands for possible mobile telephony use, in accordance with its already stated intention to allow spectrum trading and liberalisation by 2007.
The 12 bands and their possible uses are listed below, and Ofcom is calling for comments by 24 March 2005 on the proposals.
A statement from the operator says, “Ofcom is today publishing details of twelve spectrum bands that it expects to be available for award by the end of 2008.
“Some of these bands are small allocations, or are likely to be only of limited use.
“Other bands, however, such as the 190 MHz of spectrum at 2500-2690 MHz, represent a significant amount of spectrum that could be used for a wide range of different applications such as next generation mobile applications or wireless broadband.”
It should be noted that the regulator is also proposing that a transitional period, lasting until 2007, be put in place before restrictions on using such spectrum to develop future 3G services are lifted.
The regulator also said that it was “clarifying” the situation in the case 3G operators fail to meet their licence obligation of 80% population coverage by the end of 2007.
It made clear that revocation of licences is only likely in the case of serious non-compliance (ie it won’t happen) but did list several less-severe options (ie payment).